Thursday, September 11, 2008

Not all inexperience is created equal.

First of all, this morning as I worked, I toggled between MSNBC's real-time replay of the 9-11 attacks and today's live ceremonies at Ground Zero. The reading of the names, one by one, alphabet letter by alphabet letter, unfolding over a period of hours, drives home anew the magnitude of the tragedy, especially juxtaposed against MSNBC's images of the buildings coming down. I still gasp at the sight. I've seen it a hundred times by now, and when I see it in context like thatas NBC's Today Show hosts were seeing it for the first horrific time, seven years agoI still gasp.

What struck me above all this morning was the way the honor guard, consisting of New York cops and firemen, stood stoic and expressionless in the background as the names were read by the friends and family of the victims, each group of names punctuated by a short, heart-rending tribute to the person the reader had lost on that day. There is no way on God's green earth that I'd be able to keep my composure. I'd be a wreck before they finished with the second group of names.

==================================


I've been thinking of what a remarkable thing it is that Barack Obama is positioned to become the next president of the United States.

Consider, for starters, the resistance that Obama had to overcome from some segments of the population. I'm not just talking about the kinds of folks who have Klan hoods tucked away in a drawer somewhere, but people like a certain older matron in my own extended family. This is a very nice lady who I can't imagine hurting or even slighting a black person she actually met in a store, but who nonetheless, upon first seeing the Obamas together on-stage, shook her head and said, "They just don't look like a President and First Lady to me." It was a candid observation voiced without malice. She's just not used to seeing brown faces in command of the White House; the imagery causes cognitive dissonance.


Now consider the number of living-rooms throughout America in which that scene, or one like it, had to play out.
And as others have observed, the task facing Obama was not made any easier by his name. I'm fairly sure that even those of you who thought you might see a black president in your lifetime did not imagine that his name would be Barack HUSSEIN Obama. How much more difficult did that make it for him to be accepted (especially out in the great heartland, where some folks probably wonder about Kobe Bryant's ties to Al Qaeda) than if he were named John Sanders or even Leroy Jackson? Add to that the deeper reservations that he had to overcome, with the successive revelations about his links to Rev. Wright, and Rev. Farrakhan, and former domestic terrorist William Ayers.

Ever since McCain tabbed Sarah Palin, we've heard in-your-face arguments from the GOP that draw a parallel between Palin and Obama: "If our v.p. candidate is unqualified, well, so is your top guy. So there!" Such arguments overlook a number of important points, but most of all they overlook Obama's remarkable journey to the nomination. At the time of the first Democratic debate in April 2007, Barack Obama was just on
e of eight individuals seeking his party’s endorsement, the others being Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Christopher Dodd, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel. If that group were ranked by experience in public life, Obama would have finished dead-last. The groundswell of support that helped him vanquish the rest of the field—including everyone's presumptive nominee, Mrs. Clinton—evolved spontaneously and organically from the grassroots as Democrats and the rest of America got a chance to see the man, to hear the man, to read the man's own words.

Over the course of more than a year, people's qualms gave way to a deeper sense of what the senator stood for as candidate and man. Democrats (and others who were permitted by local law to vote in Democratic primaries) got a chance to decide for themselves whether Barack Obama's personal and political attributes were sufficient to offset any natural concerns about his circle of friends, his agenda and, last but not least, his readiness for the nation's top job. Realize: As far back as Iowa, had voters concluded that candidate Obama, for all his charisma, needed further seasoning, he would've been routed in that caucus and the ensuing primaries, and that would've been that. Thus when Sen. Obama says in his acceptance speech, "This election has never been about me; it's about you," he's only partly right. In some respects, this election is quite pointedly about him. It's about one unique individual being examined at great length and adjudged the right person at the right time.

Now... Is Barack Obama technically qualified to be president, using the benchmarks of public service we're conditioned to expect in our chief executives? Maybe, maybe not. I'm just not sure it matters anymore. The point is moot. Precinct by precinct, state by state, America-at-large decided that this candidate's vision, intellect, fair-mindedness and can-do spirit were the operative credentials here. Obama stands before us having survived the ultimate job interview, and having been validated by the ultimate exercise in democratic (small-d) process. And though one hates to drift into purple prose, if Obama prevails on November 4, it might fairly be said that his credentials were certified and upheld by no less an entity than We the People.

That is a wholly different kettle of Alaskan salmon from what we have in Sarah Palin, who was anointed to her place of honor on the GOP ticket. There was no protracted assessment period during which tens of millions of constituents had an opportunity to weigh in, to vet her or reject her. The nation has been asked to accept on faith that she is up to the task, and to do so merely because John McCain has ordained it:
I got ya candidate right heah, as we might have said it in Brooklyn. On Thursday, we knew nothing about the woman who, on Friday, was placed a heartbeat away from the presidency, assuming a GOP victory.

It also occurs to me that the difference between Sen. Obama and Gov. Palin can be expressed in more whimsical fashion. If the ascendancy of Barack Obama was a love affair with the voting public that bloomed mutually over time, in contrast, the selection of Sarah Palin was... Well, the term "shotgun wedding" comes to mind.

(And in more ways than one, perhaps?)

199 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just how taxing is the job of Vice President? It is currently held by a man who had four - count 'em - four heat attacks before he ever assumed that position. Cheney has also had angioplasties and stents and just about every cardiac treatment you can name, and he's still fulfilling his duties as Vice President. Many would say he's doing too much as Vice President. Vice Presidents raise funds for the party and attend funerals of foreign leaders - they don't get to pick the cabinet or appoint federal judges. Harry Truman was playing poker when FDR died - the VP slot isn't time intensive. Besides, Obama is one hearbeat away from losing Joe Biden and all his foreign policy experience.

Obama has not looked very presidential over the last two weeks - the "breath of fresh" air has tuned into another halitosis-stricken politician. He's been stammering and stuttering and talking in a nuanced political-speak which does not connect with the voters. Obama doesn't have the same effect in small venues as he does in the large ones. He seems to have a very short fuse when he's mocked; and he doesn't like seeing his "change" message stolen from him.

And Obama without the change message is wounded because he has no great legislation to point to - no great victories in his past (other than his own story). He's never "reached across the aisle" the way McCain has (McCain/Feingold; McCain/Kennedy).

It's much tougher when the #1 person on the ticket is inexperienced than when it's the #2.

Elizabeth said...

You know, pounding on Palin is becoming a tiresome necessity. One should not do it, and yet one has to (someone's gotta, right?). She is just too easy to criticize and dismiss, and therein lies part of the problem. There is so much to question her about, and yet the moment you do, the GOP starts screaming "lipstick!" Please.

The Obama-Palin contest (because that's what it's become, no one remembers anymore whatshisname, the older dude) pits two archetypal characters against each other. A beauty queen with sass against the merit scholar finalist. The hunter against the thinker. The popular girl (who went to five colleges in six years -- quite an accomplishment, no?) against the intellectual who became the (first black) president of Harvard Law Review.

The differences pile on and split this country along those old, tired and predictable lines: "rednecks" and "elites" (I use both terms pointedly).

Sigh. Isn't it time this strange divide was put to rest? Who benefits from it? Do we really want for president someone who barely graduated from college (applies to both Palin and whatshisname the older dude), or someone who can think, reason and understand the complex tasks facing the country and the world? You would not choose for your surgeon a guy who may be fun to have a beer with over one with the brain. Hm, beer or brain? This is a no-brainer* (pun intended) when it comes to operating on your body; why should it be different when it comes to running your country? It really is good to have somebody who is smarter than you and I (me?) for our president. No, really.

And, oh, let's not forget the white woman against the black man contest; no matter how a-racial you wish we were, this difference, which not that long ago was settled with a noose, is alive and well in the minds of many.

*Yes, I know image and popularity matter. I'm doing the brain-beer contrast as a shorthand and on purpose. I acknowledge there may be people with brains who are fun to have beer with as well (though not sure it works the other way).

(P.S. It's the same old Eliz -- cannot open my Blogger ID.)

Anonymous said...

"Cheney has also had angioplasties and stents and just about every cardiac treatment you can name, and he's still fulfilling his duties as Vice President."

Is that why Cheney is not running for president? Well, being vice-president is like being first runner-up to Miss America. Since Palin was a beauty pagent queen she does have experience then.

Elizabeth said...

Alright, the first Anon has a point: How hard can being VP be?

And for that matter, how hard can being the preznit be, right? C'mon, if W can do it, anyone can!

(That's why, if an unforeseen scandal should derail Palin's candidacy, I want in. Heck, each of us has a shot. And it may be as well, since apparently the issue of proper qualifications is murky at best.)

Having said that, I agree with Anon that Obama needs an image overhaul or somethin', STAT. He talks too much and in the wrong tone. I understand and appreciate his thoughtful hesitation(s) -- and prefer it over W's blustery "bring'em on!" exclamations -- but he needs to unleash his inner, er, pitbull and do some straight-talkin' to wipe those smirks of the Palin and whatshisname's lying faces.

Steve Salerno said...

Anybody besides me see Round 1 of Gibson vs. Palin tonight? I'm holding my tongue here on the "official scoring of the match" till I hear back from others. Just curious.

Elizabeth said...

I did not see it, but, let me guess, the questions were vetted and pre-approved in advance by the GOP operatives (unlike Palin herself).

And did Gibson do his very best to avoid any difficult follow-up questions to the pleasant non-answers Palin gave?

(Please tell me I'm wrong.)

Anonymous said...

"Round 1 of Gibson vs. Palin"

vs??? Steve - Gov. Palin isn't running against Charlie Gibson. She's not running against the media - although the New York Times saw fit to print 67 nasty/snarky/unflattering hit pieces against Gov. Palin in just 3 days. Palin is running against Sen. Biden - who can't seem to draw a crowd if he was giving away pardons in a prison yard.

It is not Charlie Gibson's roll to be adversarial - he's not supposed to carry the water for the rabid left-wing of the Democrat party. That is your job, and Olbermann's job.

Elizabeth said...

Wow... Steve, I'm watching the Gibson interview with Palin now -- and I have to stop. It's too painful and embarrassing. I almost feel sorry for her. ("Almost" is the key word here.)

Mike Cane said...

Yes, Steve. I saw most of Palin-Gibson. Missed the first maybe two minutes (if that).

OK, that woman SCARES THE SH*T out of me. This is NOT hyperbole. Did you notice her hand was ALWAYS in a clenched fist? How she seemed to lean forward in attack mode? How most of her replies were CANNED, like a Stepford Wife/Politician?

When she said "We're a free-thinking nation," I nearly plotzed!! This from a woman who with her FIRST TASTE of power has the town's PUBLIC LIBRARIAN on her mind when she assumes office?!

And when she said she never, ever thought of saying No to McCain's offer, that REALLY scared me too. She has the will of the fanatic. No introspection here. She IS a frikkin barracuda! She IS a pit bull! And neither one of those is meant as a compliment by me!

And when she said we might have to go to war with Russia -- with WHAT ARMY?! Do we have another one hidden away somewhere? No: She meant DRAFT. Like, you know, we could just grab a bunch of young guys off the streets and turn them into WWII-type soldiers. Clearly she is ignorant of how high-tech war has become.

No, this woman is absolutely off her nut. McCain drops dead and *she* is President = disaster.

We'd pine for Dubya!

Mike Cane said...

Oh, and 9/11 can be re-lived at will via the Internet Archive.

ellen said...

I'm with Eliz as far as the brain goes. Palin is a PR stunt that has worked spectacularly well at derailing any sensible debate. In a world that grows more complex and dangerous by the day I would hope that the person with the finger on the button has some hard working, rational, brain cells as well as wisdom, diplomacy, patience and the cunning of a fox. That gung ho stuff might play well on TV but in the real world it just adds to the chaos.

Steve Salerno said...

OK.

This is motivated by Anon 7:30, but really directed more generally at two kinds of people--and there is often overlap: 1, the people who think it's all about a war of words and zapping their opponents with their rapier wit, if you will, and 2, the people who write as if they've known me for 25 years, even though they're usually responding to a single post, or at most a series of posts on a single theme. (In this case Palin.) So, with that as preamble:

It is not Charlie Gibson's roll [sic] to be adversarial - he's not supposed to carry the water for the rabid left-wing of the Democrat party. That is your job, and Olbermann's job.

First of all, I beg to differ, Anon, and if you understood the first thing about journalism--at least as it's supposed to be practiced--you'd know that a good interview is indeed adversarial. If you're interviewing a public person who has taken public stances on issues that matter and/or are controversial, then it is your job as a journalist to try to test them, to pick at them, to make them sweat and prove themselves in a trial by fire. So yes, Charlie Gibson was entitled (and obliged) to go on the attack against Palin tonight (that doesn't mean he has to be mean-spirited, which he wasn't) and tomorrow, if he were to interview Biden, he should be just as confrontational, except from the opposing POV. The skillful journalist is always playing devil's advocate. Or else you end up sounding...well, like Katie Couric, whenever she interviews someone from the Left. She might as well be a paid publicist for the DNC.

Secondly, and more to the point of this blog in the overall...

Me and Keith Olbermann? Did you even read my post in which I delighted at the fact that MSNBC had taken Olbermann off the election beat? I realize it was a whole 24 hours ago, and it's a lot to expect from visitors in the way of background research, but come on! Look at my history. Or if you don't want to take the time to look, I'll tell you. For much of the mid-90s I was the designated pinch-hitter columnist for the opinion page of the Wall Street Freakin' Journal. Does that tell you something about my political background? I also contributed often to The American Enterprise, The American Spectator, and National Review Online. Getting the picture yet?

If not, how 'bout this: I voted for Dubya. (Which I've also admitted previously.) And in fact, I was highly skeptical of Obama at first, which you could've discovered for yourself simply by following some of the links in this very blog.

But we all have our limits, Anon 7:30, and Bush has taken me to mine and then some. And even at that, I am far from comfortable with a liberal agenda. I am going for Obama because I am impressed with the man, and now with his choice of a running mate.

Yanno, as much as I try to keep this blog open to everyone (within reasonable limits), I'm seriously considering kicking off a policy that goes more or less as follows:

IF YOU'RE NOT PREPARED TO ENGAGE BRAIN BEFORE OPENING MOUTH, PLEASE POST ELSEWHERE. We don't need your input here.

Anonymous said...

I don't time now to write more, but you bet I have things to say. Dear Lord... Palin is a disaster. She is an embarrassment to womanhood. Sorry. She thinks she can wink and charm her way out of the tough questions, using her folksy manner, TV sportscaster-beauty queen diction and round, empty phrases. Damn the facts (Russia attacked Georgia unprovoked? Is that what McCain has told her to say...? Once Iraq is a task from God and then it isn't?)

And to think that Repubs criticized Hillary... For being competent, informed and tough, among other things -- which, of course, seemed so "unfeminine" and "shrill" to them. Well, you have your desired "feminine" now, in the embarrassing presence of Sarah The Clueless Palin.

She seems to continue the great tradition of interviewing popularized, with a smashing success, here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tUO2Mu-PI0

Even if I were not supporting Obama, I would run to him now, for the Palin/whatshisname prospects in the White House are simply too scary to begin to contemplate. Obama should use excerpts from this interview in a swiftboating attack, saying, in effect, "With leadership like this (insert Palin/whatshisname) the terrorists win. In fact, terrorists are already rejoicing at the prospect of the blundering, clueless, and staggeringly incompetent team giving us four more years of the same. And then some."

Elizabeth.

P.S. We won't have to pine to W. She is W.

P.S.2. Olbermann and Steve? Steve rabid left-winger?? LOL. Very funny, Anon, in a perverse sorta way.

Elizabeth said...

Okay, I take back the "embarrassment to womanhood." Palin is no more representative of all women than George W. Bush is a representative of all men.

But I think that if McCain wanted a GOP woman on his side, he could have found somebody with more experience and more intelligence. Alas.

The Crack Emcee said...

I love you guys, but you're incredible:

I'm ashamed to see Mr. post-racialism himself, Steve, is willing to throw "a very nice" family member under the bus (just as Obama did his own grandmother) because she doesn't see presidential qualities in Barack. If that makes her a racist then so am I. Hey, Steve, what if she had said most movie stars, today, don't have the same sense of gravitas compared to those of old, what conclusions would you draw then? There is no way anyone can honestly say that Barack Obama's credentials make him worthy of carrying John McCain's sweat socks, so declaring we're all racists is the game now: you ought to be ashamed.

I swear, it's creepy to see you throw your integrity away (or what I know of it) simply to clear your own conscience as you impugn everybody else's. And, please, don't deny it, because I've heard you bellyache about race enough to know it's your thing - a thing that seems to have made you lose your mind. Welcome to the cult, Steve, how does it feel?

Here's a message for you: one does not have to be a racist - or even a potential racist - to decide Barack Obama isn't presidential material.

Until she does something obvious, your family member deserves better than you've allowed her, man. And racism runs both ways you know. The fact you (of all people) are actually on the lookout for white racism like this - eyes shifting from side-to-side, trying to search the souls of others, who you know to be good, just so you can play the self-appointed race police and declare them otherwise - is deeply disturbing to me, considering how much I admire you.

What has Barack's candidacy done to you, Dude? Is it the opportunity to "make history" that's warped your mind? Let me hip you to a great (but, somehow, still unspoken) secret of this election:

If John McCain wins, he'll be the first Vietnam veteran to occupy the White House - and that's "historic".

If John McCain wins, he'll be the first Vietnam P.O.W. to occupy the White House - and that's "historic".

If John McCain wins, he'll be the first to have endured torture in the service of his country to occupy the White House - and that's "historic".

And, if John McCain wins, he'll be the first president to have a female Vice-President - and that's "historic".

Hey, Steve: don't be racist against the white guy.

I did a post recently that had the rapper, DMX, tripping on the name "Barack" - not Hussein - does that make him racist? Or a typical American from our ghettoes? True, DMX is a fool, but as Randy Newman sang, "He's our fool", and still puts him outside of the title of "racist". You're tripping, dude.

And why shouldn't "the successive revelations about his links to Rev. Wright, and Rev. Farrakhan, and former domestic terrorist William Ayers" disqualify Obama for the White House? How about his ties to Saul Alinsky - who dedicated his "community organizer" manual to "Lucifer" - how does that fit in with your commitment to Catholicism?

Damn it, Steve, are you joking? Forget what the rest of the country thinks - I'm talking about YOU - what's happened? Have you forgotten that post-racialism means ignoring someone's race as much as it can mean seeing it and knowing it doesn't matter? You used to make me so proud by insisting on just that premise and now - what?

I can't help but just shake my head.

I'ma lay off Elizabeth, because I don't want to make her cry, but I think she, too, ought to be embarrassed.

Anonymous said...

No major blunders by Gov. Palin -she didn't get flustered or shrill. And sorry anon 7:30, Gibson was professional and not at all disrespectful - no red meat for the conservatives.

This is one of those interviews where the Democrats will say "See - she's awful! Just the worst since Spiro Agnew!" And the Republicans will say "She's the greatest thing since Ronald Reagan. We love her!"

I really miss Tim Russert.

Anonymous said...

"but really directed more generally at two kinds of people--and there is often overlap: 1, the people who think it's all about a war of words and zapping their opponents with their rapier wit, if you will, and 2, the people who write as if they've known me for 25 years, even though they're usually responding to a single post, or at most a series of posts on a single theme."

You only have two types of people who post? I vote to be in the "rapier wit" group.

ellen said...

Here in Europe we take a great interest in your elections since our fortunes are almost inextricably tied to yours. It occurred to me after posting my wish list for the qualities needed for the next person to reside in the Whitehouse(brainy, rational, wise, patient, diplomatic and cunning as a fox) there that is already a politician on the world stage displaying all those qualities as well as the gung ho, bare-chested, alpha male stuff. His name is Vladimir Putin. He gained his experience clawing to the top of the KGB so my guess would be that this man understands power. Russia is a beautiful country but I would hate to live under his regime. This is a man with a plan and the clout to carry it out. Bearing in mind that it is always wise to be aware of the other players strengths and weak points, will this election field an effective potential counterbalance to Putin?

Steve Salerno said...

Crack, I guess my writing was unclear. It's not that the woman of whom I wrote didn't think Obama is presidential, therefore she's racist; it's that she intended the remark in a specifically racial way. (I could have included context that would've strengthened that element, but I thought the remark was clear on its face.) What she intended to say, very specifically, is that she doesn't picture America being led by black people. The idea of a black face being a presidential face doesn't compute, to her, and is in fact uncomfortable. Later in the same conversation, she conceded that he "seems like a smart man, and a decent man." The problem for her was purely skin color. If that's not what we used to call "institutional racism," I don't know what is.

Insofar as throwing people under the bus, (a) I didn't name names, which is highly relevant here, inasmuch as every family nowadays includes about 100 widows over the age of 75, so it could apply to just about anyone, and (b) there are times when taking a stand on principle can require one to part company with his circle of friends. I have a feeling that I were standing on a street corner with a bunch of white friends, and you walked up to say hi, whereupon my friends started making rude racial comments, you'd expect me to take a stand...right? Would that constitute "throwing my friends under the bus"? Anybody with a conscience and a working set of balls would do that in such circumstances. Indeed, one of the problems in America, at least as I see it, is that not enough people are willing to take a stand on principle when taking that stand could have social consequences for them. Frankly, I'm a little surprised at you for not seeing it that way.

Incidentally, I've never said that McCain is unqualified to be president. He is qualified, as is Biden, as is, in my view, Obama. There are lots of people who are qualified to be president who, I think, would make disastrous presidents. (Newt Gingrich comes to mind.) I think Palin seemed embarrassingly out of her element vs. Charlie Gibson last night, but that could be my biases talking, and 40% of the respondents to an AOL poll this morning think she did an "excellent" job, so who even knows anymore.

Anonymous said...

Come on, Steve, you know me by now: I'm going to say "I know, that's who." I'm with Anon 9:33 and think most people are seeing what they want to see right now, after the cultism has taken hold, and people's critical faculties are just gone. I mean, "who even knows anymore"? Are you kidding? Are you an adult?

You've got two people - McCain and Obama - one has a clear record and a damn long (and very-public) history of service, waaay above and beyond the call of duty, and the other has set a record for voting "present" and "the successive revelations about his links to Rev. Wright, and Rev. Farrakhan, and former domestic terrorist William Ayers" and you can seriously ask "who even knows anymore"? Where is your mind, man?

The insult that people are showing McCain, alone, is worthy of an ass-kicking. That man's life is a testament to us all of trying to "do the right thing" and sacrifice for others, and this is what he gets in return? For shame! History is watching us, Steve, trying to determine how shallow we are - and so are our enemies - and it doesn't look good. I mean, people are debating color and sex when they've got a man who can't be described in any other terms than "War Hero" and "Lion of the Senate" and "Straight Shooter" and "Appeals to our higher angels" and "Reaches across the aisle" and "Good guy." So good even his ex-wife is rooting for him!?! Come on!!! (Can you imagine me supporting my ex-wife for anything?) We're actually going to deny such a man the top spot because Barry Black Man - with all those "successive revelations about his links to Rev. Wright, and Rev. Farrakhan, and former domestic terrorist William Ayers" - still gave a good speech? It's madness! There's just no other word for it.

I've got a roommate, now, that I first met as friends. He's this wicked martial artist with an encyclopedic knowledge of things, and I asked him the other day why the world looks so screwy to me and he said "Because you're so 'good', you can't imagine the lengths people will go to get their way, so they keep you on your heels or in a defensive crouch." (or words to that effect) which - while my personal goodness is clearly debatable - still sounds about right: from my ex-wife since, I just don't understand you guys. How you turned out to be so shallow. To not recognize right and wrong, or even the difference between "good" and "better". This election is a perfect example: when discussing who should lead our country, it should be a no-brainer. Probably the easiest choice in the history of the republic. Not because one guy's black but because the other guy's so clearly superior. The fact he's up by a little bit - because he added a woman to the ticket - is sad, but gratifying. It shouldn't even be a contest. How anybody can't see that and not think they're being racist - against the white guy - is beyond me. Like Anon 9:33, I, too, miss Tim Russert, or anybody else with the guts to do what's right - and knows the difference.

I'm sorry, Steve, but you should know that post-racialism doesn't mean trying to put a black man in the White House, no-matter-what, but trying to do the right thing, no matter what color a person is. In many respects that can mean we go on, just as we have been, without having to worry "the successive revelations about,...Rev. Wright, and Rev. Farrakhan, and former domestic terrorist William Ayers" will come back to bite us on the ass - you white people especially (what are you guys thinking? Are you insane?) John McCain has no boogie men in his closet or wild-eyed ideas - we're sure of that - he's PROVEN over a lifetime he's a good man.

How anybody else missed that must be "above my pay grade".

CMC

Steve Salerno said...

Yanno...folks...this last comment, by CMC, embodies both the best and worst in blogging, its analytical purity representing as it does the reason why I've loved this blog so much at certain moments (as was the case just yesterday, when I made my appreciative comment about the quality of feedback) but also the reason why I've wanted to abandon it, and almost have, on two separate occasions. I don't understand why people can't make their points without also including such rhetorical jabs as "where is your mind, man?" If an argument is weak, it's not going to be redeemed by insult, and if an argument is strong, the insult is superfluous. But I guess that's just how it is these days, and helps explain why negative ads remain the staple tactic of campaigning, and political debate often unfolds roughly on the level of what one sees on Judge Judy. I just know that I grow weary.

The Crack Emcee said...

Steve,

As you know, I don't buy the "insult" line: you're bothered by common language. (Even Peggy Noonan was busted swearing recently, on an open mic, possibly defending Obama.) I write like I talk - passionately. We're Americans, not some group of cuddly, NewAge, "I feel your pain" types.

I recently saw that video of you talking to that "Chicken Soup For The Soul" guy, and when he called you an "idiot" or something, I was sitting here screaming "Get him, Steve! Don't let him do that to you!" and I could see that you assumed I - the viewer - would see him for the crass bit of trash he was but you know what? I didn't: I saw you as weak! And so did everyone else! I'm sorry but it's the truth - you know I love you, man, but come on!

I remember you pulled out your baseball bat for the Christians but where was it for Mr. Chicken Soup? It's always the same thing: Christians get the knee-jerk violent response, atheists and realists get the "why won't you be nicer?" schtick, and NewAgers like Obama get the vote. Yes - I ask you:

Why is that? Can't you see your biases, SHAM man? I know mine - and cop to them. I've never made a claim to tolerance for Leftists, NewAgers, or any pastel-flavored approach to life. You inspire me, sometimes, to be nicer but, as that video showed, there are limits. You're talking about handing our country over to a man with Oprah's backing; who has no record; and a bunch of connections to racists and criminals, while hiding behind "who even knows anymore."

I told you - and I'm your friend - I know BS when I see it and this is it on a platter!

And telling you is what friends are for - not playing like I'm a NewAger, twisting anything to try and protect your all important "feelings".

Steve Salerno said...

I saw me as weak, too, Crack; believe me, it wasn't any "tactic" on my part. In fact, I blogged about it the next day. And I continue to rue my intellectual torpor at not being able to think of and fire off the two or three comebacks that would've just devastated him, and revealed him for the fraud he is. But it's a done deal. There's not gonna be any rematch; no sequel to the Thrilla in Vanilla.

Having said that, I'm still sitting here astonished at your tone, and at the allegations you make--about me, of all people. What, it's not possible for me to simply like Obama? Forgive my use of the phrase because I think it's absolutely odious, but are you--in effect--calling me out as a "nigga-luva" here? Are you telling me I'm motivated by white guilt, or liberal angst, or some nonsense? Jesus, man.

Why can't I just think the guy's a better candidate--at this time and place--than McCain? Why do you have to make some sort of anthropological case-study out of it, or recast me as the microcosm for this is or psycho-perversion? I just don't get it.

The Crack Emcee said...

What is he running on, Steve? Saul Alinsky? The man who dedicated his book to "Lucifer"? How - with everything else we know about him - which you listed yourself (Ayers, Farrakhan, etc.) can you dare to say he's the better candidate? Look at this article and tell me that's a record he can run on?

Yes - I'm saying you've drank the Kool-Aid. You've fallen for the NewAge gambit: they take the most idealistic and positive people and twist them into defending the wrong thing. I've seen it, firsthand, and I see it, now, with you. You're not so special that it can't happen to you. And it has. Take a step back and seriously consider it, man. Don't bother trying to defend yourself - think about what I'm saying. I'm your pal, and you've been my inspiration, so I feel I have to do this because I love you.

Please, man, don't push me away. I mean this: you've been had.

RevRon's Rants said...

"I just don't get it."

I wouldn't worry about it, Steve. There will always be some folks whose primary calling in life is to whine and bitch about anyone who sees things differently than themselves. Don't assume that *you* are the one who doesn't get it.

I, for one, will not vote for a "black man." I will vote for an intelligent person, a reasonable person, a compassionate person, and a person who has the temperament to stand up to potential enemies without needing to alienate our allies. It's been 8 years since we had such a person in the White House, and frankly, Obama is the one who best fits that description now. As to the "debate" over Palin's qualification for the vice presidency; it doesn't even rise to the level of debate. It's a stunt that is proving to be effective - at least, for a while. I still think Americans are smart enough not to fall for it for very long.

If you really "don't get it," your memory must be failing. Similar tirades have appeared previously, and all shared a common element that had nothing to do with the validity of ideas presented.

The Crack Emcee said...

I see you both are ignoring the Farrakhan connections. Defend them - because if he gets in, there'll be a good chance you two will be on the losing end of the race question.

The Bill Ayers connection, too, in favor of this compassion and intelligence BS - defend yourselves. He's done nothing but you're claiming he's qualified? Convince me: what you got? And don't make it no nonsense about his temperament. Show me what he's done, other than get office with the help of the Chicago machine. Prove otherwise.

He said Ayers was just a guy who lived down the block - a blatant lie because he served on a board, working closely with him. That's called a big lie, gentlemen, because the man is a terrorist who got off on a technicality.

How about the article I just posted? Is that the kind of leadership you can defend? Then do so.

I'm waiting.

ellen said...

Has Crack Emcee been drinking the Kool-Aid? 'I love you man' so you need to produce an opinion cloned to his own?
'Don't bother trying to defend yourself' and 'I'm doing this because I love you' while also making a personal attack is just about standard practice for the emotional appeal used in New Age and cult recruitment tactics. It's when the lovebombing starts to turn nasty.
I'd agree with him on one point Steve, don't bother trying to defend yourself, it's just rising to the bait.

The Crack Emcee said...

I want to make something clear here: cultish thinking isn't an intelligence contest, it's about gullibility. Steve isn't in any trouble with me; I just want him to think about what he's saying and doing.

As I said in my last post - and I'll extend it to any readers here: justify supporting Obama without dealing with stuff like temperament or compassion. Give me a taste of his stunning record that compels you to think - not believe - he's the best man for president, in wartime, when we've got a Senator with 30 years of outstanding service to go to. Look at the link I provided, above, and justify going to a guy who produces that when we've got John McCain.

And make your statements about Obama - not McCain/Palin. We can discuss them after. I want to see what the attraction for Farrakhan's buddy is that white people all of a sudden are willing to defend, and throw their lot in, with racists.

Give me your best shot - I dare you. Be as rough as you want - I can take it.

I say the emperor has no clothes, ...

Good luck.

(Honestly, I don't think any of you have the balls.)

Steve Salerno said...

Crack, the GOP--which, lest we forget, was my party once (though I allowed myself the prerogative of becoming an "independent" when it felt right)--has had eight years to show me that I should remain loyal. In my view, they botched just about everything--and did it with malice. Which is also why, in my view, if there's any fire at the core of the smoke surrounding the most serious allegations against Bush (re Iraq), then he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As I think you know, I'm not a believer in capital punishment, but if those charges could be proven, he would qualify for it ahead of most of the street punks who populate my nightly news here in the Philly area. They only kill people one at a time.

Let us not forget that the delegates standing and cheering for McCain/Palin at last week's convention were essentially the same crowd who supported Bush and, later, steadfastly defended his actions. If you listen to Sean Hannity, he'd be perfectly happy to fight the war in Iraq all over again.

I'm just sick of it, sick of the so-called Republican agenda, to the extent where, if the Dems ran an ibex as their candidate, I would've seriously considered voting for it.

And you know what's interesting about Ayers? He went the radical route largely in protest against an illegal war--a war in which the American public had been sold a bill of goods. (Sound familiar?) I'm not defending what he did, per se. But when the folks in control abuse their authority, turn the government into an oligarchy (and a private cash register for their old friends), and set things up so that the common man has no legal way of fighting back, well, some guys go over the edge.

I'll tell you what this guy does in 2008. He votes for Obama/Biden.

The Crack Emcee said...

Steve - nice to see you:

Man, listen to yourself: "if those charges could be proven." The statement itself is a confession the charges haven't been proven. Just like the charges "Bush stole the election" when those charges were investigated by every major newspaper in America - including the enemy of the Right, the NYT and found to be bogus. Has that stopped the Left - for 8 years - from screaming it anyway? Nope. There's no capacity for the truth there at all. But, obviously, repeating a lie works on some people.

And I, too, support the war. And would fight it again. I served in the military and know the lies told about the military. Which one got to you? That we flushed a Koran down the toilet? You ever tried to flush a book down the toilet, Steve? It's impossible, but that particular lie got people killed. Newsweek pushed that one, which should tell you everything about the state of your profession today, and it's capacity for attacking men who served to get at this administration.

You may not know it, Steve, but one of my best friends is a journalist who went to Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan - I know how you guys think with your adversarial positioning. You've heard me rail against the way journalism is used today. I read BuzzFlash and know the Left-wing conspiracy mindset of journalists. If you've got something, prove it. Don't give me this "if those charges could be proven." BS - prove 'em. And if you can't then get off the pot, be a man, and admit you're wrong. You're maligning your president in wartime for nothing but a feeling. And that - along with telling people to be "nice" -is NewAge behavior.

You're sick of the Republican agenda? Steve, I'm an atheist. The Republicans ran a slate that included pro-lifers (McCain, Romney) pro-choicers (Rudy) religious types (Huckabee) and a war hero and more. That's called a "big tent."

The Democrats gave you a choice between a black, a woman, a U.F.O. nut, and a guy who cheated on his cancer-stricken wife for a "guru" who found "enlightenment" enough to cheat with a married man. Thats called "lunacy" and "disgusting." Oh - and congress has been Democratic for two years, did nothing, and now polls three times lower than the president you hate so much.

You wanna explain that "Democratic appeal" to me?

Ayers? Ayers is 1st class jerk, and liar, and nothing more. He and his friends killed people, Steve. When his friends blew themselves up in Philly, they were making bombs to destroy a bunch of kids at a dance. There's no defense for that, and you know it. And that "illegal war" was started by Kennedy - a Democrat - so lets not BS each other, dude.

And what's this BS about the "common man"? I'm your "common man", Steve. What? Did you join the communists too? Jesus. I'm probably the most common man - if not the only one - on this board. Anybody else here surviving on a part-time job? I swear, you guys are a trip!

I gotta go for a while, but I'm still waiting for something more than "emotional support" for Obama though. Justify your actions in support of his candidacy, y'all. And if you can't, admit it. It's O.K.

You'll just be proving you're saps for any con man that comes down the pike.

Steve Salerno said...

Again, assumptions piled on assumptions, none (or few) based in fact.

1. I am not anti-military. I am anti-losing and anti-wasting lives/resources. I was a fan of the neutron bomb. You know what the neutron bomb was, Crack? Zaps people, leaves the buildings intact, creates almost no lingering radiation. The project was nixed (though for all we know it may survive in black-money programs) because it was politically incorrect, and because a handful of radical science types floated the irrational notion that it would ignite the earth's crust. (This was disproved.) I'd bring it back and use it, among other things. Point being, we don't really need to fight wars with people that much anymore; not to the degree that we fight them today. And we certainly don't need to send guys into battle for no good reason, against an invented foe.

2. I think I've been clear: The GOP needs to be punished for its sins, and I, like many Americans, plan to use my vote in punishment. Maybe we'll fail. Who knows?

3. Please stop making it sound like there's only one way to think, and that's Crack's way. Do you not see the arrogance masquerading as superior insight and "life experience." There are almost always (at least) two legitimate sides. If you can't face that and stop calling us "saps" for preferring to vote Democratic, then by all means feel free to leave the blog behind as a sad vestige of your pre-enlightened life.

RevRon's Rants said...

"Justify your actions in support of his candidacy, y'all."

Why even bother? He'll still have a "D" in his affiliation column, and for you, that negates any logical argument that is offered.

Anonymous said...

Crack:

We are not supporting Obama out of "white guilt" in an attempt to atone for past societal sins.

Actually, we are voting for Obama because of who he isn't; he's not a Bush republican; he's not an inside-the-beltway hack politician with decades in Washington; he's not a Clinton; and he's not a puppet manipulated by neocons.

We have Bush fatigue. We have Clinton fatigue. We are looking for an outsider to come in and change the culture of corruption. We want past mistakes recognized honestly; and we don't want them made again. And we don't want the rest of the world to loath this country. And maybe, just maybe, the Wall Street tycoons could go from $80 million a year down to $8 million a year in order to keep a few factories open.

And if it takes a black man to make this happen, then we'll just happen to support the black man.

ellen said...

I'd like to take up Crack Emcee's point on intelligence versus gullibility in cultish thinking. Cultish thinking is about having your capacity for critical thinking bypassed with the use of--among other tactics-- emotional appeals, cognitive dissonance, personal attacks and assumptions with no basis in fact. This leads to a breakdown in the persons sense of himself at which point new beliefs can be implanted.
Crack has been a military man so I'm sure he recognises this from basic training. I'm not saying this is good or bad--it's how to train a good soldier, it works and is necessary when you maintain an army.
It's not about gullibilty, in fact you need some intelligence there to confuse for it to work-- its about implanting the required beliefs and then constantly reinforcing those beliefs so that no other conflicting idea can ever be considered. Thats why cults will die for their beliefs--without those implanted beliefs, the only acceptable beliefs which the person now identifies with as Himself, death starts to look like a good option. Intelligence is stopped at that point because intelligence needs constant feeding with new and conflicting ideas to compare and mull over and think about.
We're all human, we are all gullible but debating ideas with people who think differently makes all of those involved a little bit smarter and better informed. We all increase our intelligence--that doesn't mean we all wind up with the same opinion.
I grew up in a cult, it's great to be free of it, no-one will ever get away with using those tactics on me again. I want lots of new beliefs but they will be of my own choosing, nobody elses.

The Crack Emcee said...

Screw this - you're too important to me:

I have asked three times now for you to defend the man on the basis of his record, and, so far, you've gone from "he's the best man for the job" (highly debatable) to your desire to "punish" the Republican Party. Is that all you've got? Is that really the best you can do?

I don't have to insult you to say that's nothing.

This isn't "there's only one way to think, and that's Crack's way." I'm asking for the same thing you ask for in SHAM - evidence.

Show me, Steve.

Elizabeth said...

Hey, Steve, are you OK? Hope you were not too pissed off by this latest spat.

If you have not seen it yet, check out the NYT front page story on Palin. Scary stuff.

(Don't post it, unless you must :)

Jen said...

" ... (...quality of feedback) but also the reason why I've wanted to abandon it, and almost have, on two separate occasions. I don't understand why people can't make their points without also including such rhetorical jabs...."

Steve, it's because we're at war here, literally. And all is fair, whether we understand or like that or not. Have you noticed how people often will "attack" the ones they (we) feel closest to? This is partially because we hold those people to higher standards, the same standards we hold ourselves up against. I would take it as a compliment that people are trusting you enough to "take it" and to use their critiques in order to further your own points and clarify your expression of them.

This might be a good place for me to tell you when I first saw your book for sale on a bargain table at a community college bookstore, I smirked at it. Yes, it's true; and I laugh as I admit this to you now. And yet I couldn't stop thinking about it and went back the very next day to buy your $24.95 book (with a big blue and white "Great Value Bargain Book" sticker on it) for $5.98. And that's only the beginning, Steve. While reading, I found myself attacking you all along the way. But what I was (and am) actaully doing is digging into my own consciousness, looking for answers.

You seem to be doing the same thing, and this is why I like reading what you have to say. It inspires me to keep thinking, engaging brain before mouth, something I don't always practice but wish I would.

Steve Salerno said...

I am OK, people--and thank-you to the several of you who've asked on-blog or off-. I just took a few days off to throw myself back into my jazz roots. (The whole thing would take too long to explain, but I find jazz...restorative; energizing. And I don't even have to chant lame affirmations or pretend to believe that the universe is at my disposal!)

I apologize to those who took the time and effort to compose their thoughts the other day, and didn't see their comments posted till just a few moments ago. I try to stop on top of that as best I can.

Jen...so...you bought the book at a bargain counter for $5.98? But didn't you realize at the time that such purchases earn me just 40 cents or so in royalties? ;)

ellen said...

Glad to hear you got some R&R, Steve.

The Crack Emcee said...

Rev,

That's a cop-out. You can imagine me being so partisan that I can't see reason but that's still avoiding my question. Plus I don't trust you any more than you trust me, so I expect it out of you. But there are more people here - I count 6 people on this thread - so somebody should be able to come up with a record worth noting, other than "if it takes a black man to make this happen, then we'll just happen to support the black man", which is insulting to this black man.

Anonymous Anonymous,

Steve brought up white guilt, not me. He's argued for a post-racial approach since I've known him, so I don't expect that's the point of his Obama support. I want to see a record - any record - not a skin color.

"he's not a Bush republican"

Neither is McCain. He ran against him before and their friendship is tenuous. McCain is a patriot who, unlike too many Americans, respects the man in the office the same way a military person respects an office in uniform. They belong to the same party. That's respectable, not a crime.

"he's not an inside-the-beltway hack politician with decades in Washington"

I won't go into McCain's record but he's not called a "maverick" - a man who's stood up to his own party and corruption - for nothing. To not give him credit for that is unfair and/or approaching our politics with blinders. Barack Obama has no record of standing up to his party or corruption (Tony Rezko proves that: he was a "player" and got a house out of it - something no one on the Democratic side - that includes journalists like Steve - wants seriously investigated.) I gave you a link to Barack Obama's failure as a friend of the poor. I've changed my tone - now I'm talking issues - why are you guys still ducking me? Because you're in this political cult. Don't forget: I know all the tricks, people. Unless you approach what I'm saying, straight on, you are a political cultist:

"...Nobody joins a cult. You join a self-help group, a religious movement, a political organization.

They change so gradually, by the time you realize you're entrapped - and almost everybody does - you can't figure a safe way back out...."

-- Deborah Layton, Survivor of Jim Jones' People's Temple


"[Barack Obama's] not a Clinton"

Neither is John McCain. But he's a big enough man that he's friends with Hillary - treats her better than Obama did. He's known for working with Democrats. Problem?

"he's not a puppet manipulated by neocons."

That's a dodge. Anybody who thinks our country is worth going to war for is considered "a puppet manipulated by neocons" to radical Democrats. Sorry but radicalism doesn't cut it. We're adults in 2008, not kids of the 60's. save that for the discussion of Barack and Bill "bomb-thrower" Ayers.

"We have Bush fatigue. We have Clinton fatigue."

Neither of them is the issue before us. That, to me, shows how far off the mark you're thinking.

"We are looking for an outsider to come in and change the culture of corruption."

The Republicans have handed us two - with a record of doing so - what's so difficult to understand about that?

"We want past mistakes recognized honestly; and we don't want them made again."

McCain pushed the surge - against almost everybody, including the president.

"We don't want the rest of the world to loath this country."

This argument, to me, is silly. The rest of the world does not control our country. They spy on us, are jealous of us, and want to take our place at the top. Nothing more. They have their own leaders and foreign policies - let their people press them for change. We want them to respect us, just as you want people to respect you in your home. The idea we're to do things so we can all sing "kumbaya" with the world is immature and doesn't take the realities of real politik into account at all. We are at war. Period. Act like it. Defend yourself.

"And maybe, just maybe, the Wall Street tycoons could go from $80 million a year down to $8 million a year in order to keep a few factories open."

Screw socialism. Open a new factory and hire somebody. Invent something. Help somebody out yourself. Do you read my blog? Have you made a donation? Has anybody here? I haven't seen it. You're joking if you haven't decided to take initiative yourself.

"if it takes a black man to make this happen, then we'll just happen to support the black man."

This is insulting to me on so many levels it's embarrassing. As a black man, I shouldn't have to tell you that appealing to my race-conscienceness, a la Al Sharpton, is pandering of the worst kind. As a black man, I shouldn't have to tell you that hiring a black man with no record is worse than picking a white man with even a meager one. As a black man, I don't want to go on with this line of reasoning because I'll be writing "As a black man," for miles. You really should stop with this type of thinking. Barack Obama is a man - a man who is half black and half white and still confused about who he is. That's what Sarah Palin's comment that the presidency isn't a "spiritual journey" was about. You're talking dangerously here. This is our country. Take it seriously. What is the man's record?

Anonymous ellen,

The military is not a cult. Many cultists are intelligent - most might even be - but, through their idealism, they are gullible enough to believe outrageous things a common sense type, like me, would never go for: the Maharishi will teach you to fly and meditation - focusing on yourself - will make you a better person to others. Water is a medicine. You're filled with "Body Thetans" - whatever.

You say you grew up in a cult. Well, what do you call a leader that's known for long-winded speeches that say nothing to outsiders? Who keeps flashing "Believe" and "Change" at his followers? Whose movement has repeatedly been called a cult? Who's hooked up with Oprah (who's hooked up with Eckhart Tolle and Rhonda Byrne and Marianne Williamson, etc.) who also has tons of cult talk surrounding her? You were raised in cult? Do you just ignore all these red flags? The cult talk started after Obama got to Iowa and started speaking to the Maharishi's people. You were raised in a cult? Then what do you make of all this?

Elizabeth,

I read the NYT article and saw nothing remarkable. You want "change"? She's different. She kicks ass and was the most popular mayor in America before we ever heard of her. I find it remarkable that no Obama supporters found Charles Gibson's interview of her as "scary stuff". None of you are demanding Barack Obama be fully vetted and he's got criminality in his actions and associations. Look at this difference in Gibson's questions for the potential Democratic President and the potential Republican Vice President:

Charles Gibson's previous questions to Obama compared to the questions he later asked the VP nominee Palin:

Obama Interview

How does it feel to break a glass ceiling?
How does it feel to “win”?
How does your family feel about your “winning” breaking a glass ceiling?
Who will be your VP?
Should you choose Hillary Clinton as VP?
Will you accept public finance?
What issues is your campaign about?
Will you visit Iraq?
Will you debate McCain at a town hall?
What did you think of your competitor’s [Clinton] speech?

Palin Interview

Do you have enough qualifications for the job you’re seeking? Specifically have you visited foreign countries and met foreign leaders?
Aren’t you conceited to be seeking this high level job?
Questions about foreign policy
-territorial integrity of Georgia
-allowing Georgia and Ukraine to be members of NATO
-NATO treaty
-Iranian nuclear threat
-what to do if Israel attacks Iran
-Al Qaeda motivations
-the Bush Doctrine
-attacking terrorists harbored by Pakistan
Is America fighting a holy war? [misquoted Palin]

There’s no doubt the Charles Gibson's interview was much harder on Palin and showed extreme favoritism towards Obama. He constantly questioned her knowledge and ability to lead but never questioned Obama’s,...

Like I said, Barack's got some ugly characters in his closet - criminals, terrorists - and nobody cares enough to demand answers of him. But they want to know everything about Palin's sister's divorce, Palin's daughter, etc. They make up stories about banned books - anything. It's a cult. And a dangerous time in our nation's history. One more time:

I say the man has no record of accomplishment and I've given you a link to prove he's a liar and a failure. Prove me wrong. What's his record?

And, please, stop beating around the bush and directly address the question.

Anonymous said...

Continuing Crack Emcee's theme,

If John McCain is elected, we'll have a lying adulterer in office, a man who had numerous affairs and dumped his devoted wife of 15 years to marry a much younger woman who inherited a fortune made on booze, stole painkillers from a charity, forged prescriptions, and caused a doctor to lose his license because of her lies.

If John McCain is elected, we'll have a corrupt politician in office, a man who was involved in one of the ugliest financial and political scandals (the Keating Five) in the US history.

If John McCain is elected, we'll have a unscrupulous liar in office, a man who does not hesitate to throw his country under the bus and is willing to sell his soul for political gains, as evidenced, in addition to the above, by his VP choice and his campaign based on lies.

If John McCain is elected, we'll have four more years of the same failed politics that George W. Bush has given us in the past eight years, bringing us to the brink of the military, financial, and moral ruin.

If John McCain is elected, we'll have as VP a woman who threw her whole family under the bus, including a disabled infant and a pregnant teenage daughter, for her political ambition.

If John McCain is elected, this woman, whose main attribute is her belief in the power of positive unthinking and God's will as the foreign policy, may become our president.

Mike Cane said...

The argument against a McCain Presidency in one: He will drop dead in office and subject us to his screwball running mate as President.

Funny how that point is being avoided by someone.

ellen said...

Crack Emcee, you asked for somee evidence regarding McCains fitness for the job.
Try this for starters:
http://tiodt.blogspot.com/2006/12/married-to-mob.html
You seem to be a fan of Chris Locke, I like his stuff too, try this:
http://mysticbourgeoisie.blogspot.com/2008/09/what-color-is-your-parachute.html
I am not trying to convince you to change your mind, just pointing out that if I dig deep enough I can find some dirt on McCain, on you, on anybody.
The fact that McCain served his country, above and beyond, many years ago does not give him a free pass now and in the future. The man is tainted, bought and paid for many years ago by people who never, ever forget to call in their markers. I spent 25 years in the gaming industry, I wouldn't want those people calling the shots.
We make all our decisions based on limited information, none of the candidates in this election stands as a shining beacon of light and purity, evidence of the past is overrated as an indication of future performance.
What the world needs now is a forward-thinking statesman to sit in the Whitehouse, someone who is willing to tackle the mammoth problems facing us, one who is not already on a mob payroll.

Steve Salerno said...

Crack, I would never presume to speak for the Rev, but I strongly suspect--in fact, I am just about certain--that he was being ironic when he wrote his "if it takes a black man" comment. He was, in effect, saying just the opposite--that race doesn't and shouldn't matter. At least that's what I deduced from it. Although I often say that it's important to let bygones be bygones between posts/threads, there are times when one's posting history must be taken into account.

As it happens, I watched Obama on O'Reilly last night, and despite being interrupted in the middle of just about every substantive answer he tried to give, Obama gave a good account of himself, I thought. I trust the guy's knowledgeable, well-deliberated position on things, I'm impressed by his ability to hold his own against a guy like O'Reilly, and I'm not at all put off by the fact that he (Obama) admits that he can't give a 100-percent certain response--right now--to what he'd do about Iran etc. Why should an incoming president tip his hand? Besides, if we're going to argue that we expect a candidate to know all the answers RIGHT NOW, then we're also saying in effect that there's no value to the highly classified security briefings that presidents receive (notwithstanding our grim experience in the matter of those missing WMDs). And, yanno, when people talk about Obama being "weak" vs. McCain being "strong," militarily, I am reminded of the way conservatives, post-9/11, were running around saying things like, "Thank God we have George Bush in office and not Al Gore! This is no time to have a liberal in charge of the fate of America!" So--as Bill Maher once posed--did conservatives think Al Gore would simply have raised a white flag over the Capitol and surrendered to Al Qaeda? That Gore would've had no response to 9/11? That's ridiculous. He would've been just as irate as Dubya...except maybe he would've focused on defeating our actual enemy, instead of involving us in a protracted boondoggle that has needlessly broken the hearts of thousands of American mothers, and may handicap the U.S. economy for generations to come.

Elizabeth said...

CMC, point by point:

Elizabeth,

I read the NYT article and saw nothing remarkable. You want "change"? She's different. She kicks ass and was the most popular mayor in America before we ever heard of her.


Huh? If she were "the most popular mayor in America," how come we've never heard of her?

Ok, joking aside. Yeah, she's different, alright. She kicks ass, sure. Especially of the folks who stand in the way of her political ambition. A fundamentalist wingnut who believes our foreign policy is dictated by God. How does that square with you, CMC, an atheist? Or are you too throwing your principles "under the bus," to use your expression? Do you really believe, as Palin does, that Iraq war is a mission from God? Do you really believe that God has chosen America for whatever mission of glory she appears to believe in? Do you really want to listen to God to learn about our next move in the international relations? Do you, CMC?

She's different, alright. She assured us she would not blink before pushing the button. She does not see anything wrong in starting a war with Russia. She is very different in this respect from the overwhelming majority of Americans, including Republican foreign affairs experts.

Yeah, she is different -- she wants to remove books from libraries, books that offend her fundamentalist wingnut sentiments. When unable to do so, she fires the librarian. No, contrary to the GOP propaganda, this story is not made up and has been corroborated by the librarian herself as well as others who were involved in it. She uses her office power to conduct her personal vendettas. Different, sure. But not the kind of different that we want or need in running this country.


I find it remarkable that no Obama supporters found Charles Gibson's interview of her as "scary stuff".

You gotta be kidding me here. What "Obama supporters" have you been listening to?

None of you are demanding Barack Obama be fully vetted

Obama has been vetted for over 18 months, answering patiently -- and thoughtfully and honestly -- all questions thrown at him. Have you been listening to him or only to the GOP operatives?

and he's got criminality in his actions and associations.

Only in deluded wingnut minds. The charge of guilty by association would not stand in any court.

There’s no doubt the Charles Gibson's interview was much harder on Palin and showed extreme favoritism towards Obama. He constantly questioned her knowledge and ability to lead but never questioned Obama’s,...

Others did however question him, numerous times. And your complaining about Gibson being tough on Palin is just unseemly, CMC, if not sexist (yeah, really). Because why should she not be subjected to the same scrutiny as male candidates? What, does she deserve a break because she is a woman? C'mon, you can do better that repeat the GOP talking points, which, in essence, are their desperate response to the obvious and sad fact that Palin was a disaster in that interview. But rather than admit that, the GOP operatives fault Gibson for not trying to make her appear more intelligent, coherent and knowledgeable. Yeah, poor Sarah.

So what that the questions were tough? Why should they be easy? If she were qualified, she would have been able to answer "tough" questions. And, really, how tough were they? This was more like "Are you smarter than a fifth grader?" than a serious grilling of a VP candidate. What insight does proximity to Russia give you? Well, she can see Russia from her home in Alaska... If this -- and the rest of her "performance" -- is not embarrassing to you as an American, then I don't know what to say other than this: don't tell me how ashamed I should be for expressing my views. Certainly not any more than you should be for yours.

Oh, and btw, good to see you too.

Anonymous said...

"What insight does proximity to Russia give you? Well, she can see Russia from her home in Alaska..."

Palin must have interpreted "insight" quite literally.

Steve Salerno said...

Apropos of this last, if you haven't yet seen SNL's spoof of this remark (and the Palin selection generally), you owe it to yourself to do so. It's easily findable online. I'm sure it infuriated Palin's (newfound) following, but you gotta admit, it's pretty darn funny, the way they set it up. And Tina Fey's impersonation...wow.

The Crack Emcee said...

This is getting sillier and sillier:

John McCain's first wife is happily supporting him for president. He's said, publically, the failure of his first marriage was his biggest moral failing. What more do you want?

John McCain was exonerated in the Keating Five Scandal. You guys aren't doing your homework.

John McCain's mother is 96 years old, and still spry, so at 72 we can assume he's got some ways to go.

I know all about Cindy McCain's father and (my friend) Chris Locke's obsession with (his words:) those "motherf**ckers" in the Republican Party. What Cindy McCain's dead father has to do with John McCain's candidacy (and 30 year record of achievement where he worked with Democrats 55% of the time) is beyond me.

Funny, BTW, how you guys don't want McCain or Palin to get a free pass but you're O.K. with giving Barack one. Why is that? Sounds kinda cultish to me,...but that's a digression: none of you, so far, has shown me a record for Barack Obama.

Elizabeth:

"A fundamentalist wingnut who believes our foreign policy is dictated by God."

She never said that: Chartlie Gibson misquoted her. Read up on the current debate, E - it's moving fast.

As far as my atheism, I have no more choice to choose amongst religion and spiritual types than I do liberals. They're a fact of life and I'll take a Christian with a firm moral foundation over a NewAger who accepts the concept of duality to excuse wrong any day - you know that. I've written about it many times. Obama is the "cult" candidate.

"She's different, alright. She assured us she would not blink before pushing the button. She does not see anything wrong in starting a war with Russia."

And if she didn't say that then you'd be on her for being weak. Just like Democrats pine for "the old John McCain" who couldn't win a presidential election. Listen to yourselves. Don't you understand yet that the rest of us are listening to you and can see through your excuses? Here, let me help you:

Barack Obama: tell me the man's record.

"she wants to remove books from libraries, books that offend her fundamentalist wingnut sentiments."

Another lie that's already been debunked - the listed books she supposedly wanted to ban (like Harry Potter) hadn't even been published yet - you can't make that up. You're not investigating these issues, E, just repeating them. That's not very smart. I expect more out of you. Ever considered the librarian has a vendetta against Palin?

"Obama has been vetted for over 18 months"

You call those Gibson questions I just showed you "vetting"? Where's Gibson, looking over his glasses at Barack and asking about Rezko, Ayers, etc.? Did I miss that hard-hitting interview broadcast on national television? I don't think so. And it's not being demanded. Why not?

"The charge of guilty by association would not stand in any court."

I gave you a link to Boston.com. And you're (all) avoiding it. Why? Because like all cultists, it would tear at the fabric of your beliefs. Not one of you is addressing the question of his record or the information in that link.That's a damning statement in itself.

"your complaining about Gibson being tough on Palin is just unseemly, CMC, if not sexist (yeah, really)."

BS - I never said any candidate shouldn't be drilled - I said Obama has major issues that he hasn't been sufficiently grilled on. You're the one with the charge of sexism at the ready to sling - just as someone else accused me of racism, ready to charge "white guilt". One more time, people:

What's the man's record?

The Crack Emcee said...

This really is embarrassing:

There are 6 of you here and, when it comes to my request for the man's record, you're all playing the same game of extreme avoidance. It's really a remarkable thing to behold. Not one of you - all adults - wants to broach that fundamental issue. You'll talk about anything else, peddle lies, pass along rumor, your dreams and nightmares, but when it comes to the two fundamental issues I'm asking you to deal with (the link I put above and any other evidence of a clear record for Barack Obama) you guys choke and act like I shouldn't notice you're doing it. Or that you don't notice it yourselves.

That's scary. Very cultish. Especially for this crowd which claims to be a bit aware of the issues surrounding cultism. You guys, you're part of a political cult. Look at yourselves.

You're talking like madmen.

The Crack Emcee said...

Steve, about SNL:

I wasn't bothered at all. Thought it was funny. I think Hillary supporters got the worst of it.

Steve Salerno said...

Crack: I am supporting Obama not because of his record--which, I agree, is insubstantial to date--but primarily because of two other things: 1. his book, The Audacity of Hope, and its eloquent and deeply thought-out view of America and its problems, and 2. his performance under fire in debates, Q&As, etc. I have said a number of times, it's not that I'm "down on" McCain. It's that I think he's an intellectual lightweight compared to Obama (I think I've had enough of intellectual lightweights in the Oval Office for a while; and the addition of Palin to the ticket doesn't help), and I am very down on the party he represents. The Republicans need to go; that's plenty enough reason in my book. Why do you keep coming back to the issue of "record," when I'm telling you point-blank that--at least for me--the record is not the issue in this election (especially since both candidates have essentially hitched their stars to the Change bandwagon).

And again, I wish you could learn to restrain yourself when it comes to the name-calling. There is no reason for that, unless you're feeling insecure in your position. "Madmen"? "Cult"? But while we're on the subject, are you telling me that the GOP at convention didn't seem rather "cultish" in its collective adulation for the War Hero? Its hear-no-evil rallying 'round the buck-hunting Beauty Queen?

The problem with today's partisan America, perhaps, is that too many voters (and pundits, etc.) are displaying cultish, lemming-like behavior. But here on SHAMblog? Sorry, I just don't see it. And I resent the ongoing accusations of same--especially from a man who, I'm quite sure, hopes to be treated with the respect due all independent thinkers. It's a weak and unbecoming style of rhetoric, Crack.

The Crack Emcee said...

Fine - I'm done with you guys. I make a simple request - a record - and you'll spout anything but, starting with criticisms of language all the way to claims (I guess) that if a guy writes his own story it's the truth and that makes him worthy of the most powerful job in the world.

I'm sorry, but you're behaving in what I find to be a delusional manner.

I'm ashamed to know you - not because you won't vote the way I do but because you don't think I'm worthy of a clear answer. Goodbye.

Steve Salerno said...

Crack: Sorry to see you go, but let's be clear on why you're going. It's not because we won't comply with your simple request--I gave you my reasoning in my most recent comment--but because you're saying, in effect, that you can't engage here and still remain civil. And that's a shame.

You know what's really delusional? Blind, ongoing faith in a party that has done to America what the Republican party has done over the past eight years. But the forces of delusion may yet prevail in the end; and if McCain/Palin are voted in, then America will (once again) have the government it deserves, and the millions of well-meaning (but misguided) Little Guys who were complicit in that outcome can stand up at their next NASCAR event and cheer about another four years of an agenda that runs counter to their own interests in almost every meaningful way.

Anonymous said...

Ironic that your most gullible poster called you gullible, Steve.

The Crack Emcee said...

No - there are 6 of you - and while you may not care for a record, I'm asking you for one, and I'm getting anything but. I gave you a link to comment on, and you're avoiding that, too.

Give me evidence, just as I gave you. If you say you don't care about evidence then that puts you in the same category as homeopaths, and that's the very definition of delusional, is it not?

Steve Salerno said...

If I may be permitted a point of order here: See how quickly it gets away? See what happens when people can't make their cases without throwing in personal jabs/gibes, and then others feel compelled to defend themselves in kind? A slippery slope indeed.

Dimension Skipper said...

I see Crack already mentioned that these couple of Palin controversies have already been debunked, but I just wanted to provide reference links so folks can read about'em and decide for themselves:


FactCheck.org on, among a few other things, the Book Banning issue: Sliming Palin

Scroll down to the section titled "Not a Book Burner." Apparently there is corroborated evidence that she broached a question on the subject on two, possibly three, occasions, so no doubt that will be enough to alarm many people. But the fact remains that not one book was banned or requested to be banned and there's no evidence that any such thing was ever part of any official agenda of Palin's. Personally, I wouldn't have even asked such questions, but asking is not equal to doing.


Politifact.com on Palin's statement re the Iraq war and God's will: Sarah Palin was repeating "Abraham Lincoln's words" in discussing the war in Iraq

She did not say that the Iraq War was part of God's Plan. She suggested that people should pray that the Iraq war, really any war, should ultimately turn out to be aligned with God's Plan. Which is pretty much what Abraham Lincoln expressed. She didn't claim to be privy to God's Plan in all its glorious splendor. It was really just along the lines of "Let us pray that somehow we're doing the right thing in God's eyes."

Personally, I don't have a horrible problem with that.

Anonymous said...

Obama's Senate record:
http://tinyurl.com/yolwol

Anonymous said...

Obama's record in IL Senate:
http://tinyurl.com/329zfc

Anonymous said...

Obama's brief CV and some accomplishments (impressive all, given how young he is):
http://tinyurl.com/66k6wb

Steve Salerno said...

I would agree, DS, that Palin got a little bit of a raw deal here, in that she wasn't saying anything Lincoln hadn't said--though the fact that Lincoln said it didn't make it right, either. I still maintain that merely expressing the hope that we're on "God's side" implies that (a) there is a God to be considered in this equation, and (b) He chooses sides, which is a dangerous way for national leaders (ours or anyone's) to frame debate. Then too, I think there's a disingenuous deeper level to such expressions that must be considered, and that makes me think the phrase "hope we're doing God's work" is often said insincerely. After all, if they really believe in God--and if they want to be in good standing with Him--would they do anything that they didn't already think was "his will"? In such instances, God almost becomes a crutch, a way of sharing (or avoiding) responsibility for something you were going to do anyway.

Steve Salerno said...

Btw, DS (and others), I much appreciate your ongoing efforts to anchor more of what is said here in the factual record.

Elizabeth said...

Here are the links for you to investigate, CMC, on Palin's attempts at censorship and firing of the librarian:

http://tinyurl.com/5a9plo
http://tinyurl.com/5g3dz7

BTW, I have not talked about a "list" of books she banned, so please do not put words in my mouth and accuse me of things of which I'm not responsible.

And your charge (that the librarian may have a vendetta against Palin) is just a wash, CMC. By the same token, you can dismiss any and all criticisms of any and all political candidates (including Democrats). There are always personal vendettas lurking somewhere around (how cultish is this kind of thinking, BTW?) Just look at the substantiated facts. We are each capable of making our own judgment.

But her attempted censorship is not even the greatest problem I have with Palin's. She is an intellectually empty vessel, clueless and incurious about the world, chosen for the position specifically for her gender (her fundie views are a bonus) and the benefits it would allegedly bring to the McCain campaign. It's identity politics at its lowest. If I'm not mistaken, you are a staunch opponent of identity politics. Where is your criticism of it now, in Palin's case? Or is identity politics bad only when Dems do it, but perfectly OK when practiced by the GOP?

If this is not hypocrisy, then at least a case of uncritical thinking. One could even say "cultish" thinking, if one were so inclined.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Palin didn't ban books, but there is Wooten-gate. An elected politician using his or her office is not one I want as VP. Here is one of the many links to that:
http://www.nowpublic.com/world/wooten-gate

The Crack Emcee said...

It just hit me that if I couldn't convince my ex-wife that she couldn't walk through walls, then I'm not going to have much of a chance convincing Steve Salerno that his willingness to accept Barack Obama's word on who he is, and Steve's own defense of Bill Ayers, isn't something I should be troubled by after talking with him for the last two years and reading him in the Wall Street Journal and Skeptic Magazine. It's hopeless.

Still, here's The Boston Globe on part of Barack Obama's record, such as it is:

"CHICAGO - The squat brick buildings of Grove Parc Plaza, in a dense neighborhood that Barack Obama represented for eight years as a state senator, hold 504 apartments subsidized by the federal government for people who can't afford to live anywhere else.

But it's not safe to live here.

About 99 of the units are vacant, many rendered uninhabitable by unfixed problems, such as collapsed roofs and fire damage. Mice scamper through the halls. Battered mailboxes hang open. Sewage backs up into kitchen sinks. In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale - a score so bad the buildings now face demolition.

Grove Parc has become a symbol for some in Chicago of the broader failures of giving public subsidies to private companies to build and manage affordable housing - an approach strongly backed by Obama as the best replacement for public housing."


Dimension Skipper,

Thank you. Keeping up with all the links is difficult. I, too, have no problem with Sarah Palin after investigating these charges (I check them all out, and, just like with the war, they always seem to fall apart. As Steve said, "if they turn out to be true",...but they don't). The level of hatred directed towards SP is amazing - coupled with "progressives" being unwilling to investigate the charges - it's all pretty shocking. Here's one by a friend of mine. It's outrageous - and riddled with falsehoods.

I really wonder where the county's going from here because when seemingly "normal" people are willing to suspend their critical faculties this way - willing to hand over the presidency to someone with no record of achievement and even willing to defend domestic terrorists to do it - we're in big, big trouble.

ellen said...

Crack Emcee, did it ever occur to you that simply because you demand something--in this case records on Obama--there is no obligation on anyone to supply your demand.
That people have spent time and trouble, despite being ridiculed and abused, speaks more to the qualities of those people than reflecting well on you.
I'm folding my cards on this one.

The Crack Emcee said...

The Daily Kos? That doesn't negate the information but if you guys are part of the Daily Kos crew then I'm right: you are cultists. I covered them on my blog already, how they started as an occult site and all that.

I'm going to take time to look this stuff over. I'd appreciate it if you guys would look over the stuff I provided as well.

Elizabeth said...

Speaking of Wootengate, see this:

Fired Official: Governor Sarah Palin Did Not Tell the Truth to ABC

http://tinyurl.com/6sy8dp

Follow it up with the story right next to it:

Critics Question Palin's Record on "Epidemic" Rape, Domestic Violence in Alaska. Effort to Tackle Sex Violence Stalled by Palin's Office, Sources Say

http://tinyurl.com/6f8wrp

Dimension Skipper said...

I would agree, DS, that Palin got a little bit of a raw deal here, in that she wasn't saying anything Lincoln hadn't said--though the fact that Lincoln said it didn't make it right, either. I still maintain that merely expressing the hope that we're on "God's side" implies that (a) there is a God to be considered in this equation, and (b) He chooses sides, which is a dangerous way for national leaders (ours or anyone's) to frame debate. Then too, I think there's a disingenuous deeper level to such expressions that must be considered, and that makes me think the phrase "hope we're doing God's work" is often said insincerely. After all, if they really believe in God--and if they want to be in good standing with Him--would they do anything that they didn't already think was "his will"? In such instances, God almost becomes a crutch, a way of sharing (or avoiding) responsibility for something you were going to do anyway.--Steve

Well, I've seen several instances (the Gibson interview the most prominent one) where the exact quote is twisted or key portions omitted, giving it a significantly different impression (by design?).

But just as I'm OK with what Palin said, I'm also OK with your view of it as well. (Not that you or anyone else need to worry about what I think.) Perfectly valid points. I just don't happen to read as much into her comments as you seem to, but that's OK. I can at least understand where you're coming from on it because you took the time to clearly explain rather than merely fling generally sarcastic stereotypical characterizations about.

Also, and this is to everyone who drops in here, please don't take my posting of the links as necessarily indicating support for Palin or the McCain side in general. If I see something being put out there that I know is being mischaracterized or is downright false (regardless of which side is being "slimed"), I usually will attempt to point folks to a reference which will maybe present a little more detail and context. As I said, folks can then decide for themselves. But call me crazy if you must, I just feel it's best for everyone to proceed from a base of documented known facts.

I knew that neither piece would convince anyone to change their positions on those Palin issues as there is a certain amount of murkiness involved, but it is rarely my intent to try to convince others of the rightness or wrongness of any particular political side or issue. (Usually, I'm still struggling to figure out such things for myself.)

The Crack Emcee said...

First, I'm surprised that posters to SHAMblog consider The Daily Kos and Democratic Underground reliable sources of information - they're not. Both are extremely biased; known for changing information on Wikipedia (where they both seem to rule the roost) harassing people, conspiracy theories, and repeatedly being investigated by the F.B.I.. (Yea, I've learned all that in just a short period of time.) The NYT describes Democratic Underground as "an online gathering place for people who hate the Bush administration." Not a site to trust.

This basically means that even if I'm only looking over Barack Obama's Senate record, I've got to do some cross-referencing with other, more reliable, sites for accuracy.

Elizabeth,

Your references are good - Alaskan papers - but, like your claims about Palin's religious beliefs, you seem to be connecting dots that aren't there. Palin, from what I can tell, asked questions about library policy. That's all I think we can tell without slipping into conspiracy theories. (The papers make clear no books were banned.)

As far as the firings, the paper clearly said these positions were filled "at the pleasure of the mayor". Not a shock for a small town. As someone in the article said (or implied) you can't demand "change" and then insist everything stay the same once the change-agent arrives.

I'm sure you're aware of all the articles about the hostile reaction "progressive" women have had toward Palin. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to have caused much reflection on the part of those women about their behavior - including the fact (and it is a fact) they're chasing people right into Palin's arms. I think that's worth thinking about here. She's a small-town mayor and Governor of our biggest state. She's had to make decisions and answer for them - while at the grocery store - and she's still the most popular politician in America, single-handedly swinging an entire election to her side. Women should be, at least a little, proud. Attacking here for imagined wrongs is just going to backfire. Burrow down and figure her out.

Anonymous said...

You are funny, Crack. Obama's "got criminality in his actions," according to you, even though his only "guilt" is to naively support a shady developer whom he trusted and who took advantage of many others. Guilt by association, just like with Ayers. If there is "criminality" in that, where is an investigation and the criminal charges against Obama? Do you think Republicans would not seek indictment for him if they had any reasons to do so? But they don't, so they are just happy smearing the guy--with, as you so stunningly articulated it, guilt by association. For shame.

On the other hand, McCain's involvement in the Keating Five scandal is well documented, along with his "exoneration," as you called it, which many questioned as way too lenient and a typical result of the government investigating itself. For shame.

You are unbelievable, man. Next time, before you go on the "you are all cultists!" rant, look in the mirror first.

The Crack Emcee said...

Anon,

I think it's funny you haven't asked me what criminality I was referring - you know already!

Anonymous said...

I am a woman and a registered Independent. I am not voting for McCain, BECAUSE of Palin. She is a hypocrite and I am not voting for Obama. I am not proud that McCain used a woman to further himself and yes she is being used. I have read enough to know that Palin is not someone I want to be next in line if McCain should croak. McCain is no spring chicken so that is a real possibility. I am ashamed of McCain. I at one time respected him a lot. Now I know he is just as bad as the rest of the poll chasers.

Anonymous said...

Crack, everyone knows the Rezko and Ayers stories--or rather, non-stories. In terms of Obama's involvement there, this is a no news item. Guilt by association is a crappy accusation. Sorta like saying that you must be a cultist because you've been around people who are in cults. Weren't you married to one? And you did not see it for how long? It must make you guilty like hell--of being a cultist yourself.

Hope you can see how absurd this reasoning is.

Anonymous said...

"The level of hatred directed towards SP is amazing - coupled with "progressives" being unwilling to investigate the charges - it's all pretty shocking."

Shocking? Hardly. You must have forgotten one Hillary Clinton and the treatment she received in the hands of the GOP.

Anonymous said...

This whole exchange is why I hate political parties so much. They divide people so much.

I just read another blog by a conservative Republican Gen Xer who thinks Palin was an awful choice and he got slammed for being a "traitor."

Now you see why people go Independent.

Steve Salerno said...

No question, Anon 9:40. No question.

roger o'keefe said...

Tbis may be one of those strange bedfellows scenarios, but I find myself siding with Crack here. I wish someone could tell me what it is about Obama exactly that makes people not just support him, but support him as staunchly as they do. What is it that recommends the man? He writes nicely, speaks nicely and has a pleasing demeanor. If that makes a man presidential material, then what's wrong with someone like Steve Martin. And Martin has a sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

“I wish someone could tell me what it is about Obama exactly that makes people not just support him, but support him as staunchly as they do.”

I don’t think this exchange has been so much about supporting Obama as being upset by Crack’s hypocrisy. He does precisely what he accuses others of: Shaping everything to fit his agenda. I have read this blog for about three years now to see this. Crack is not the only one to display hypocrisy, but he has been the most demeaning to fellow posters. I think a lot of this is a reaction to that. This is just an observation.

Obama is supported because he is not a Republican. Bush II has made the Republican Party look bad on many levels. There are many Republicans who are going to vote for Obama. Obama is also charismatic, intelligent, thoughtful, and articulate. He appears to really care about this country and is a breath of fresh air. I like him, because he has made so many of my generation care about our government again. No one else has really done that in my lifetime. John F Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were before my time. Steve Martin has all those qualities, but he is not running for president.

Anonymous said...

"What is it that recommends the man?"

He is not Republican.

Anonymous said...

"As you know, I don't buy the 'insult' line: you're bothered by common language."

You don't by the "insult" line, because you keep doing it. This is not about "common language." If you ever did your "arguments" with what you just stated to Steve, you would be shown the door at any civil debate. You are not being civil to fellow bloggers and ruining whatever chance you had of explaining your stance. You are doing an excellent job for Obama though.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the experience debate does not really matter too much. Bush II was not too seasoned either and look it how far that got us. McCain's experience and Obama's lack of it only matter in how each party uses that excuse. McCain has been trying to be president for awhile and his experience never mattered to his party before. Now why is he so grand? Age is a bigger problem with McCain. Remeber Reagan was suffering from early stage Alzheimers when he was in office. I am not too hip to old presidents.

Elizabeth said...

LOL, both Anons above -- this was my response exactly: he is not Republican. Everything else is the icing on the cake.

His popularity has to do as much (if not more, IMO) with so many people being sick of the irresponsible Republican rule -- with its hypocrisy and warped values -- as with his own achievements and attributes. The latter include, as Anon observed, being thoughtful and principled -- a rare and refreshing quality among politicians.

(BTW, he was not my preferred candidate.)

P.S. Steve Martin will find supporters, I'm sure, should he decide to run for president. He'd not be the first actor to do so.

Elizabeth said...

And now for some comic relief:

My Gal
by George Saunders
September 22, 2008

Explaining how she felt when John McCain offered her the Vice-Presidential spot, my Vice-Presidential candidate, Governor Sarah Palin, said something very profound: “I answered him ‘Yes’ because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can’t blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we’re on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can’t blink. So I didn’t blink then even when asked to run as his running mate.”

Isn’t that so true? I know that many times, in my life, while living it, someone would come up and, because of I had good readiness, in terms of how I was wired, when they asked that—whatever they asked—I would just not blink, because, knowing that, if I did blink, or even wink, that is weakness, therefore you can’t, you just don’t. You could, but no—you aren’t.

That is just how I am.


Full text:
http://tinyurl.com/5u6d9z

Elizabeth said...

I spoke with a life-long Republican friend of mine last night who is soured on McCain precisely because of Palin. In his mind (and it's hard to argue with his reasoning), the choice of Palin means one of two things:
1. McCain did not quite know what he was doing when selecting her -- which shows that his judgment is poor;
or
2. McCain knew exactly what he was doing (more plausible) -- which shows how little he really cares for the well-being of the country and his fellow Americans.

Either way, the Palin choice has revealed a side of McCain he did not see before.

BTW, palin means "back" and/or "again" in Greek. I kid you not.

The more you know... ;)

Dimension Skipper said...

Not too long ago I speculated as to the first Palin bio that might come out and if it would be out before the election (I suspected it might). I also wondered if it would be pro or con. Well, here it is...

Sarah: The Palin Biography by Kaylene Johnson
Review by Andrea Sachs for TIME.com

It was written before she was picked as McCain's running mate, but has now suddenly climbed the charts:

"The slender volume, written well before John McCain chose Palin as his running mate, sold some 10,000 copies when it originally came out in April. Now, with 350,000 copies in print and counting, the book has rocketed onto the New York Times bestseller list."

Apparently the book is hugely pro-Palin, but Johnson does make the effort to include some negative stuff:

"But the hagiographic elements of this book are, unexpectedly, mixed with enough controversy to portray Palin as a fairly sharp-elbowed politician. Johnson conscientiously includes quotes from numerous unflattering articles about her, as well as noting controversies that she left in her wake."

Mike Cane said...

>>>When unable to do so, she fires the librarian.

As I did a post about this that quickly got passed around the Net and made me dread reading the 100+ Comments that came in, I must clarify because I've learned new facts.

There was a political aspect to this. The librarian campaigned vigorously against Palin when she ran. That, rather than books, was predominantly the reason for Palin's firing. The townspeople, however, revolted and the librarian was restored. That said, I still wouldn't trust Palin with the Library of Congress!

As for McCain, he just lost a staunch fan.

Anonymous said...

"I don’t think this exchange has been so much about supporting Obama as being upset by Crack’s hypocrisy. He does precisely what he accuses others of: Shaping everything to fit his agenda."

And it still doesn't get you to stop doing it yourselves. Don't you get it? If Obamamaniacs weren't doing it then nobody else would be compelled to. I've asked you guys to reflect on what you're doing and do you? Nope. You continue to keep it up no matter what. That's the "cult" behavior. No amount of reasoning, screaming, issues, or nonsense will stop you guys.

As a few have said "he's not a Republican" so even if he's the nasty piece of work I say, too bad. Even though the Democrats have done nothing in Congress, too bad. Even though they poll as less liked than Bush, too bad. Even if the Democrats are losing credibility daily - and now losing in the national polls and the electoral college (sp) - too bad. And still, you want to me to take you seriously as thinkers, as I used to - not a chance. You're cultists now.

I predicted all the way back in January that Barack Obama was going to lose. And I said he was going to lose for one main reason: the actions of those in his party. I said:

"He'll get the nomination but his inexperience and, especially, his party will bring him (and them) down."

It should be obvious to anyone that the cultish support that confuses Roger and I; the extreme irrational off-the-charts hatred for Bush and Republicans; the fact that adults are (very-NewAge) illogically relying on their "feelings" - in the political arena! - and the fact all of this has been evident for some time now, with very few on the Democratic side saying "wait a minute,...something's wrong here" (deciding, instead, that denying it's happening is a better way to go - like everyone else is blind and crazy) is creepy, illogical, and a total loser on the political stage.

You can blame my language all you want but, like I said, that's a cop-out. None of us can be spared being offended by others. Only NewAgers think a democracy can be otherwise. I've always acted as this blogs reminder of that and will continue to do so. If you don't agree, then you don't believe in this country's ideals. Grow up. Say "sticks and stones,...", find the argument inside of it (as Steve does all the time) and, for goodness sake, stop whining:

It's embarrassing,...

CMC

Elizabeth said...

The only thing embarrassing here, CMC, is your stubborn refusal to drop your one-size-fits-all bucket with which you measure everyone who does not think the way you do.

For example, your accusations about "Obamamania" and "feelings" (as if feelings were something to be ashamed of -- a curious form of attack from a person whose every post drips with unchecked emotion):

Has it occurred to you -- seriously -- that there are those among us who support Obama not because we are gullible maniacs but because we approve of his record (which you apparently refuse to look at) and share his stance on the major problems facing the country and their solutions?

You put yourself on the pedestal of reason and insight, where you occupy a lone position, looking down on everyone else who does not share your particular worldview (or, as Palin would say, doctrine).

But can you even begin to acknowledge the possibility that those whom you so eagerly disparage for professing different ideas may do so for principled and well-thought-out reasons, or do you indeed see yourself as The Lone Arbiter of The Truth? (I hope it's not the latter, but you surely are doing your best to sound like it.)

Elizabeth said...

Speaking of Palin, a very interesting article, by Philip Gourevitch, about her and the Alaskan politics in The New Yorker -- here is an excerpt (not the most interesting one, but a good observation):

Palin, who studied journalism in college and worked for a time as a sportscaster, has an informal manner of speech, simultaneously chatty and urgent, and she reinforces her words with winks and nods and wrinklings of her nose that seem meant to telegraph intimacy and ease. Speaking recently at her former church, the Wasilla Assembly of God, she said, “It was so cool growing up in this church and getting saved here, getting baptized by Pastor Riley in Little Beaver Lake Camp, freezing-cold summer days that we had at camp—my whole family getting baptized when we were little.” She sounded the same when we met, high-spirited, irrepressible, and not in the least self-conscious. On the contrary, she is supremely self-confident, in the way of someone who believes that there is nothing she can’t talk her way into, or out of, or around or through. There was never a hesitation before speaking, or between phrases, no time for thought or reflection. The words kept coming—engaging, lulling, distracting—a commanding flow, but without weight. Yet, for all the cozy colloquialism, she cannot be called relaxed. She’s on—full on.

Full text:
http://tinyurl.com/5suy5c

Mike Cane said...

I open my can of gasoline and pour out two links:

This is Your Nation on White Privilege

Wake up America! Palin/McCain are fucking AWFUL!

Steve Salerno said...

...your accusations about "Obamamania" and "feelings" (as if feelings were something to be ashamed of -- a curious form of attack from a person whose every post drips with unchecked emotion)...

I think this is very much on-point, first because it adds some much-needed perspective to the debate between some of our posters, but also--on a more fundamental basis--because it addresses a point that we tend to gloss over in our discussion of politics and policy. Where the aims of government are concerned, I don't think we should have to apologize for allowing (and even encouraging) some level of empathy and compassion for those whose lives have not been enriched by trickle-down economics. That is a very different scenario from my general indictment of the "feelings" movement in self-help, where, ironically, it is often used as a justification for total and utter selfishness (i.e. today's all-pervading "Happyism").

Steve Salerno said...

SS NOTE: This would be a good place for me to remind readers that I do not endorse (or necessarily even read, in every case) the links provided by our visitors. I also tend to discourage the posting of links that contain profanity (to keep us off that slippery slope), but I decide each case on its own merits.

roger o'keefe said...

So I asked my question politely and earnestly. In other words I purposely avoided the inflammatory rhetoric favored by certain other members of this forum, such that people would react to my ideas rather than my taunting words. And still no real answers. "He's not a Republican"? That's really the answer, and the *only* answer?

Steve Salerno said...

Roger, this befuddles me. I gave my answers further up in the thread (yes, despite the inflamed rhetoric that was used in challenging me to do so). So I guess I have to conclude that you're either ignoring my answers, or you consider them an insufficiently weighty response. Which is your prerogative, of course, and in which case I guess we have to agree to disagree (another phrase that I know is not a favorite of a certain other contributor).

Anybody else want in here?

The Crack Emcee said...

The only thing embarrassing here, CMC, is your stubborn refusal to drop your one-size-fits-all bucket with which you measure everyone who does not think the way you do.

Why should I, E? I have standards and principles. Those are two things you don't give up lightly. You've confessed your insecurities, regarding understanding right from wrong, many times. A better question is, considering your misgivings, who are you to challenge mine? Are you afraid to think , as so many relativists are, that someone else knows more/better than you? Does self-confidence bother/scare you? (That New Yorker article makes me think it might,...) I've heard Rush Limbaugh say just that: liberals are afraid, and jealous, of self-confidence, and they'll do anything to shut down another person who has it.

And it's funny you should mention that, E, because, to tell the truth, that great unthinkable has occured to me:

I'm smarter than you guys.

It may be specialized. It may be, in some ways, limited (I'm certainly not rich) but in certain areas, politics and music being two, I'm head-and-shoulders above the rest.

Scary thought, isn't it? Or do you think someone has to carry Obama's airs for that to be true? I've known lots of black people - many who have never finished their education - who I think of as waaay smarter than the average suburbanite. They've got good ol' "horse sense" in spades. They'd never believe in NewAge culture. They can see through Barack Obama. People with money don't faze them. They merely know what they know, and they're confident knowing it. As my slow-eyed but sharp-as-a-whip cousin in Oklahoma used to say, "Don't come here with none of that California bulls**t." He was man I respected. I could dedicate my blog to him because it's a storehouse of crap he'd never be involved in. Can you say the same of yourself? Or have you mooned to the light of a crystal or two? Thought your horoscope was real? I betcha you did. And then have the nerve to ask where the thinking in this country went wrong. Like I said, it's embarrassing.

Steve has shown his contempt for me by defending the domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, something I'd love to see him try in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. It's sincerely mind-blowing, especially because no one here said a word. (Of course, opportunistic "Rev" showed up to give him moral support.) What's next for Obama supporters? They'll start revealing a weakness for Timothy McVey - anything - anything not to admit they're wrong.

And here's a thought that warms my heart: you guys are destroying the Democratic Party. This is it, kids. There will be no return after this. Everything I rail against: NewAge, the 60's, radical feminism (thank you, Sarah!) identity politics - none of it will have any cache' after this election. And why? Because you guys didn't have enough sense to correct yourselves. You weren't confident enough in yourselves to say "I'm wrong" and make the necessary adjustments. So you're going to take the whole lying program down with you. And your enemies - the Christians, especially - will have the last laugh. The Republicans can take a hit, but not the Democrats:

It's over.

The Crack Emcee said...

Roger,

It doesn't matter how you phrase it. I told you: my ex thought she could walk through walls and there was nothing I could say to convince her otherwise. Once people get to this state, they're lost. Listen to Steve: that's your prerogative. We can agree to disagree. It's all bulls**t. He actually wants you to believe there's no truth. It's just something people can skirt around with words. Relativism. And they think we won't notice they're doing it because they can't acknowledge they're doing it to themselves. It's arrogance - far beyond any that I can display - just in another (more cowardly) form. Immaturity, too. They just can't grow up.

Anonymous said...

"He's not a Republican"? That's really the answer, and the *only* answer?"

Roger that maybe the "only" answer for some posters. I myself dislike both parties so it is not my answer. I gave you my reasons. I do believe a majority of the country is tired of the GOP. Bush II is a Republican and his approval rating is in the dumpster.

Anonymous said...

And it still doesn't get you to stop doing it yourselves. Don't you get it? If Obamamaniacs weren't doing it then nobody else would be compelled to. I've asked you guys to reflect on what you're doing and do you? Nope. You continue to keep it up no matter what. That's the 'cult' behavior. No amount of reasoning, screaming, issues, or nonsense will stop you guys."

Whatever you got Crack, I don't want. I am a very thoughtful person. I have even been described as "wise." I spend a good portion of my time thinking. I can debate and reason too. I actually teach argumentation, which is about understanding each other! If you are so brainwashed by the GOP, why bother with us? Do you work for Obama? You are an asset to his campaign. After all your posts, he is assured of my vote.

Anonymous said...

"If you don't agree, then you don't believe in this country's ideals.'

This is the antithesis of what the United States was founded on! Thomas Jefferson understood that disagreement and debate were founding blocks of democracy. It goes back to Socrates. You actually are offending me as an American now. If you don't understand how important disagreement is to American liberty, I wonder if you understand what being an America is.

The Crack Emcee said...

I think it's important to say this: somebody mentioned my marriage and asked about my beliefs. I'm an atheist by birth and was a Democrat by circumstance. The kind of guy who stayed home while my wife went to church or on a retreat or whatever other nonsense she was involved in. I was a nice guy.

Then she started getting weird. I told her she needed to talk to a psychiatrist. I figured one day, late in life, she would lose her mind and I would care for her. The idea of leaving her or "finding a better model" didn't occur to me. I loved her. But I did NOT share her beliefs.

So she found a con man who did. He killed my mother-in-law. And I've adopted a whole new approach to life. I won't spend my time trying to hold truth like a wet fish. Instead, I'll stab the sucker with a knife. That'll keep it down. And it does. It works. Being nice with certain people (NewAgers) is worthless. They insist you be nice to them as they lie, and spin, and wiggle. No. Nail 'em down. Force them to deal. In the grand tradition of the great Ted Patrick, we must deprogram them.

The Macho Response.

It's the only true expression of love in our time.

RevRon's Rants said...

Wow! No Internet for4 days, and a veritable firestorm erupts! I have only one thing to add, since others have covered it all pretty well:

Crack, I do trust you. Of course, I define trust as being confident that someone will react in a certain manner to a given circumstance. :-)

It must be one hell of a cross to bear, trying to save all us deluded cultists from ourselves. But isn't the desire to replace another's way of thinking with your own the very foundation of cultism?

Elizabeth said...

Oh, Roger. For you, "not a Republican" means so little -- and yet for others, so so much.

For those who don't know what "not a Republican" stands for, here is an abbreviated crib note*:

Not a Republican stands for some form of universal health care.

Not a Republican stands for governmental regulation, which would prevent the free-market barons from looting our and their coffers and, after making out with millions of dollars, begging us to rescue their devastated enterprises.

Not a Republican stands for pensions and a decent form of Social Security that would make it possible for regular folks to retire with dignity.

Not a Republican stands for reproductive rights and freedom.

Not a Republican stands for livable wages and workers' rights.

Not a Republican stands for equal access to good education for all, not only children of the richest.

Not a Republican means controlling the spending of taxpayers' money and prioritizing that spending in a manner that would benefit the taxpayers and common good (and not relatives and friends of the politicians, and/or special interest groups, or misguided special projects -- such as needless wars started under false pretenses.)

Not a Republican means taking good care of our natural resources.

Not a Republican stands for international diplomacy and not saber rattling, macho posturing, or starting needless wars under false pretenses.

Not a Republican stands for understanding that making America stronger and a valuable world player requires, in addition to the sound economy and military, international diplomacy and cooperation.

Not a Republican stands for knowing that in order to prevent and combat terrorism we need to work with the rest of the world at, among other things, removing its root causes, which include political and economic injustice.

Not a Republican means acknowledging that common good goes hand in hand with individual interest and well-being.

Not a Republican means pro government that would work for the good of all Americans and not only friends and relatives of the politicians and special interest groups.

Not a Republican stands for upholding civil and human rights of all individuals, including those considered prisoners of the so-called war on terror.

This explanation goes on, but you get the gist of it. (This being a crib note, one is forced to keep it short and sweet.)

Obama is not a Republican. That's why so many want to vote for him.

*The list reflects the current and, unfortunately, adequate common perceptions of what a non-Republican (and a Republican) is.

Elizabeth said...

those whose lives have not been enriched by trickle-down economics

Steve, wait... What? So it's trickled-down already?

Drats. We missed it again.

P.S. I've wondered why you added your "profanity" disclaimer, fearing that I must have missed some juicy term in that New Yorker article. And then I saw Mike's links. Ahem. LOL.

P.S.2. Mike, the Wise piece is excellent.

Steve Salerno said...

ON A very busy day, a quick observation for Crack, and anyone else who sees this as a battle of Pure Unadulterated Right against Absolute Incontrovertible Wrong: Hmmm, now where have I heard that before.... Sounds a bit like a holy war, doesn't it? Such are the mindsets that have people flying planes into buildings. Such are the mindsets that motivate men like William Ayers. Such are the mindsets that scorn the peacemakers, and make compromise impossible.

The zealots may differ in the nature of their zealotry--but they are united in their passion, and in their danger to the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

"The zealots may differ in the nature of their zealotry--but they are united in their passion, and in their danger to the rest of us."

Isn't that the truth! I read a few blogs, conservative and liberal, geez they are sad! Where did people get the idea to question something meant they were a traitor? China? I read some of these posts and imagine what China is like. Questioning the government is part of our heritage as Americans. We give up American ideals when we stop doing it.

I do not know if you are going to let this go through, but I did want to comment on using your blog as a psychiatrist’s couch. I know when you started SHAM you wanted to hear stories about people who got hurt by the self-help movement, but at what point do these people move on? We all get hurt in life, but does everyone have to hear about it at nauseum? Sure personal experience can give us an idea of where someone is coming from, but it also shows a person’s personal blind spot. It displays how much a blogger needs a counselor and makes the arguments presented weak. It would appear the SHAM victims have now brought into victimhood too.

The Crack Emcee said...

Steve,

It's funny that you would mention a "holy war" when your side's the one with the leader pushing religious rhetoric with the bomb-making terrorist by his side. The terrorist you defended, BTW, not me.

Now who's the zealot, again?

Steve Salerno said...

Oh, come on, Crack. How can you even say that stuff with a straight face? Look back over the line of argument on this thread, which now encompasses more than 100 comments over the course of the past week, and step outside yourself and tell me who sounds more like a fanatic here. Please....

RevRon's Rants said...

"The zealots may differ in the nature of their zealotry--but they are united in their passion, and in their danger to the rest of us."

I've long noted that the common element among zealots is their insistence upon converting - even forcing - everyone else to acquiesce to their point of view. They will brook no compromise, and willingly abandon reason in favor of supreme rightness. Believers, all... even those who claim no beliefs.

It has, however, been my experience that the ones doing the shouting need not be feared. Just as in the dojo, the opponent who proclaims superiority before the match has begun does so to mask the fear that he will prove to be the inferior performer. It's the quiet ones, who go about their divine missions without calling attention to themselves, that one must watch out for. They're the ones with the incendiary backpacks and the commitment to their cause.

The Crack Emcee said...

1. You said "holy war" and there's nothing "holy" about me.

2. It seems to me, after researching the claims made by others here, that Cynthia Canary had it about right when she told The Times Online (a more reputable source than those given by others):

“He’s a pragmatic politician, and in the end if you think that he’s superman, your heart is going to get broken.”

Why? Because most of those legislative accomplishments everyone's claiming Barack has were the result of deals he cut with Emil Jones (Barack's political "godfather") to get his name on bills after a long stretch of voting "present". Obama even lied about his work history.

I don't have the time I had yesterday but, seriously, you guys have got to be kidding - here's a suggestion:

Rather than relying just on NewAge sources that have been repeatedly busted for lying, like The Daily Kos and Democracy Underground, there's this thing called "Google" you really should familiarize yourselves with.

RevRon's Rants said...

"step outside yourself"

And you call yourself a realist, Steve? :-)

The Crack Emcee said...

"Step outside yourself"

If you ask me, it's ideas like that that's got you guys in the trouble you're in.

Next you'll be claiming you can fly.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Look back over the line of argument on this thread, which now encompasses more than 100 comments over the course of the past week, and step outside yourself and tell me who sounds more like a fanatic here."

I have, and I'd say it's the "nice guy" driven to defending a terrorist,....

Steve Salerno said...

Who's relying on so-called New Age sources? Again I find myself sitting here open-mouthed and motivated to say: Are you kidding me? I'm relying on New Age sources?? It's not just a figure of speech when I say that I wrote the book on SHAM--the very book that certain parties here have credited for their own psychic rebound!

No. What I'm relying on is what I see of Obama, the man, himself. I'm relying on his books. I'm relying on the answers he gives during debates and interviews. I'm relying on the fact that his political ads are, at least, far less of an insult to my intelligence. I'm relying on the fact that McCain (who, make no mistake, has always struck me as a straight shooter) now has the gall to run a campaign that almost implies that he's trying to unseat an incumbent from the opposing party, when in reality he is part and parcel of the climate that requires all this Change that everyone keeps talking about--and yes, I'm sorry, in my view, he must pay for that "sin." I'm relying on the fact that McCain chooses a running mate who is so obviously out of her depth and ripe for satire, yet the GOP rallies around her as if she were the second coming of Eleanor Roosevelt (wrong party, but you get my drift), Maggie Thatcher or Golda Meir. Golda My-ass is more like it.

Let's stick to the facts people, and avoid charges and counter-charges that border on absurdism. PLEASE. Otherwise we might as well stop talking about prospective heads of state and instead start talking about angels and heads of pins....

Anonymous said...

Crack, there is no nice way to say it. You are being ridiculous, man. Blinded by ideology. It is one thing to disagree, but another to show such obvious hatred for those who don't think the way you do.

roger o'keefe said...

Does it occur to anyone that we're having the same problem on this Blog that we have in the political realm itself? That everybody just wants to win at any cost, and all reverence for truth and the spirit of inquiry get lost in the bargain.

Steve Salerno said...

Roger: Yes.

Anonymous said...

"to tell the truth, that great unthinkable has occured to me:

I'm smarter than you guys."

And that settles it, ladies and gents. Is there any point in continuing this... discussion?

To use the words of the wise man,

It's over.

The Crack Emcee said...

Um, Steve, you haven't given a link to any info in this "discussion", so, obviously, I wasn't referring to you - unless you've stepped "outside of yourself". And, if you'd look at the info I linked to, you'd discover some of the lies Barack told (that others have exposed) were in Barack Obama's book!

I'll tell you what: I'm going to write a book claiming I'm the king of Siam. Are you going to believe it?

I gave you facts - which you clearly have no use for. That's cultish and you know it. I've been begging you to deal with the facts I've linked to, and you - you, not others - haven't responded to any of them.

Say what you want about me, Steve, but you can't accuse me of some new behavior.

But you've changed, Dude, and I think a look at those "horror stories" you ran are now definitely in order.

When you're defending terrorists, something's wrong.

Jen said...

This thread is fascinating in so many ways. It started on September 11th and highlights the very best and worst of human behavior. :)

A new thought occurred to me yesterday as I observed a yapping dog in our neighborhood. At first glance, the dog appears brave; the barking serves to inform listeners to beware. But if the dog truly had no fear, it would not be affected by whatever got its attention. The dog without fear would not bark. The barking serves as evidence of the dog's genuine fear. Maybe the dog is actually afraid of the feelings and thus barks just to express discomfort about those rather than to intimidate whoever or whatever the barking is directed toward. In other words, the bark is saying, "I can't keep this inside, this thing you triggered by your presence; it's not about you, this is just me and my fear talking. I can't deal with these feelings silently."

Now, people are surely not dogs but I think we have similar instincts. To be accused of "cultish" behavior or of any kind of extremism is going to ignite something inside. The "quiet ones, who go about their divine missions without calling attention to themselves," as RevRon's Rants pointed out, might very well be "the ones with the incendiary backpacks and the commitment to their cause." But they also might be the ones who are merely processing their own fearful feelings in their own way. The yappy ones, on the other hands, might be just as harmless but unaccustomed to the process of working it out internally rather than externally.

Just dropping some thoughts here, not a lit match. ;)

The Crack Emcee said...

Roger,

I'll say it again:

I've given them links - always to reputable sources - that they're choosing to ignore in favor of attacking me. I've asked them, countless times, to deal with the info, and they refuse.

Since you seem to be the voice of reason here, I've got one question for you:

Can you deny it's bizarre, and completely out of character, to see Steve defending a terrorist?

Steve Salerno said...

At the risk of getting truly far afield, let's get something clear here: I dislike the 9/11 terrorists not because I think they're wrong, per se--and I believe I made this clear in a much earlier post--but because they're out to kill me. I don't know if they're wrong, objectively, just as I don't know if I'm right, objectively. But I do know that I happen to live here, in the U.S., with grown kids who work within the bull's-eye of Manhattan Island, so I would like to see all of this resolved one way or another. If we can negotiate with them, fine. If we can't and we have to kill them, fine. Just make it go away somehow--but NOT because I think they're wrong. I just want to be left alone, to go play my ball games, take my grandson to the river, and watch my granddaughters at their dance recitals.

Terrorism is a question of point of view. The Founders of this nation were terrorists, in the eyes of the Brits. Menachem Begin was a confessed terrorist (though he didn't put it quite that way). Some would say we are institutional terrorists right now, for the damage we've wreaked in Iraq. But the bottom line goes back to what I said in my first graph. I was born here. I'm an American. So leave me the hell alone, or you will force me to kill you. It has nothing to do with morality or "who's on God's side." It is pragmatism.

The Crack Emcee said...

Jen,

You're right: when people start speaking of "divine missions" then it gets my attention. When politicians claim they will bring down a holy light, and change the oceans, it gets my attention. When my formally-reasonable friends start defending terrorists - and other "reasonable" people don't call him on it - it gets my attention.

These guys are hitting me with these NewAge arguments - the quiet ones are also the con men "Rev" and Connie attack - always knowing I'm familiar with them.

It's hypocrisy, and madness. I'm now asking you, and Roger:

Isn't defending terrorists wrong?

Steve Salerno said...

P.S. The point of that dissertation was that I'm not defending or attacking William Ayers. He has his point of view. So did the Black Panthers and the BLA, who respectively were killing cops and throwing white salespeople (like myself) off the roofs of Harlem tenements back in 1970s. They weren't wrong. I wasn't right. But I didn't want them to kill me, so I took a .30-06 to work with me. Had a BLA revolutionary confronted me in an alley, I would've shot him, then walked over and said "I'm sorry I had to do that" to the dead body. And I would've said it tearfully, and I would've meant it.

The Crack Emcee said...

Nice save, Steve:

Now you're defending killing without reason. Or so you can play ball.

Meanwhile - while you're not sure about terrorists - you ARE SURE about Bush as a criminal.

Curiouser and curiouser,...

Steve Salerno said...

Crack (et al), what I am trying to do here (not so successfully, it would seem) is make a distinction between what I'm sure of--for me, personally--and what I think is the case in the larger, objective realm (which may have nothing to do with what I'm sure of). To change the context: I am sure there is a God. I also know I'm probably wrong. The reason such an odd duality can exist is that I think one prong (the certitude about God) is emotionally driven--something that wells up in me (or was implanted in me) and so it's just there. But at the same time, I'm able to evaluate that feeling through a wider lens, and know that I'm probably wrong about it.

So yes, do I think--as an American, emotionally--that the 9/11 terrorists were wrong? Of course I do. But I also recognize that I'm having those feelings as an American, which naturally corrupts my ability to see things from, say, a radical Islam perspective.

Bill Maher said it much more succinctly: "If you haven't actually talked to The Big Guy [meaning god/God/Allah/etc.], please don't presume to interpret His desires for the rest of us.'

Anonymous said...

Crack, you would defend Spuds McKenzie if she (it was female) were chosen as the Republican vice-president, or even president. You would give us links on how smart terriers are (Spuds was a bull terrier/she passed away) and how barking is acceptable in a debate. You haven't just drunk the Kool Aid, you have put it right into your veins!

If you believed in half of what you spew, why do you live in Northern California? It is a very blue state and Northern California is very liberal. Why don’t you move to Alaska, Arizona, or Nevada? Why do you avail yourself of public hospitals? Why do you suck on the teat you denigrate? That makes you a hypocrite by the way.

You remind me of the guy on my corner with a placard who swears we will be invaded by Martians, except he gives a better argument, is logical, and entertaining. So when do you get your own corner?

The Crack Emcee said...

Ahh, yes: "duality" - one of my favorite words in the NewAge lexicon. Gets 'em out of anything - especially thinking too hard about, and confronting, being wrong.

Sorry, Guy, but no: I don't deal in dualities, I can't "step outside myself", and I think the words of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg's sons are the guiding principle for us:

"The truth is more important than our political position.”

Duality denies there is a truth. The truth is there is no God. The truth is Barack Obama has unleashed a political cult. And the truth is you're in it.

You're my friend. I wouldn't say this if I didn't care about you. I've said all along I have nothing to replace belief systems with. I know that puts me at a disadvantage, with people who are searching for something, but - in a universe with no boundaries - it's just what we have to learn to live with. I have an advantage in this respect: being raised in foster homes, I don't expect or look for more. I can't be seduced by pretty words or the quiet approach. I want facts. Until they got the facts from their friend, the Rosenberg's kids railed against America. Now they're saying they were wrong - after a lifetime leading others astray.

Being a friend isn't about telling us what we want to hear. It's about telling the truth. And the truth does exist.

That much I'm sure of.

RevRon's Rants said...

Careful tossing the f-word (fear) about, Jen... some months ago, I addressed the fact that some - most - of the aggressive behavior we see is a manifestation of fear, and the reaction elicited served to prove my point quite effectively. And it is that same fear that I believe drives the partisan rancor so prevalent today. Fear of losing one's power can be a devastating experience. When one's sense of power is tied to their ability to dominate, the end result is never good. If they succeed, others suffer as much as the fearful one; if they fail, the fear - and the rage - continues to fester until the individual is consumed by it.

Steve Salerno said...

And the truth does exist.

Finally, we agree on something! Except--though the truth does exist--we have no way of knowing it. We can only know how we see it. There have been many times in history, even in science, when we thought we had the truth, only to learn later that we didn't. And yet--it's funny how mankind never quite seems to get this--the fact that we supplant an old truth with a new truth doesn't mean the new truth is true, either.

This may come as a shock to some people--many people besides just Crack--but the fact that we agree with something doesn't ipso facto make it right. And the fact that we disagree with something, even violently, doesn't make it wrong.

Steve Salerno said...

Side note to Jen: For some reason your request just made its way to me. Though I suppose you could delete the comment on your own, I'm requesting that you don't at this point, since so many others found it interesting and even based portions of their argument(s) on it.

Elizabeth said...

CMC, I've followed the links you've provided and read the articles. They all say, essentially, something we (most of us) already knew and what can be summed up in, Obama is not perfect. He is human and a politician, playing the political game. I've never been a great fan of Obama, but I will vote for him because of the issues he stands for and not my love for him. (I generally do not fall in love with political candidates.)

I do not see any substance to your charge of "criminality." What are you referring to, the Rezko association?

I notice that while you repeatedly slam Obama for this or that, you have some strange reverence -- one could say it's "cultish" in its uncritical worshipfulness -- for McCain. We never hear you say anything critical about him and you go to great lengths to defend his indefensible behavior (adultery, for example). It seems extremely biased to me.

You know, I can send you a bunch of links discussing McCain's less than illustrious history, including some debunking his "hero" status. You may start with this site, which has a wealth of well documented sources:
http://mccainthehero.wordpress.com/war-hero-12/

Elizabeth said...

Sorry, that link did not go through. Here it is again:
http://tinyurl.com/3mekf7

And check out these while you're at it:
http://tinyurl.com/4m7y69
http://tinyurl.com/45h9rj

The Crack Emcee said...

Elizabeth,

I've said this a billion times:

If his ex-wife isn't holding their history together against him, and is still backing him for president, then who are we to judge? She was in a disfiguring car crash while he was a prisoner of war for half a decade - that's a highly unusual and extremely intense situation that hardly warrants outsiders pooh-poohing like it's just another divorce. Not to mention, McCain has never shied away from it, calling it his greatest moral failure - during this campaign.

I'll look at your info but, I betcha, the Keating Five will be in there. It's McCain's greatest political flaw and one he was exonerated for, having been found to have his hand graze the cookie jar. As a matter of fact, it was the moment when he first came to to my attention as a politician. To his credit, that's the moment when he started his anti-corruption campaign.

Compared to the handouts Barack Obama has delivered to his friends, in an extremely short career, there's just no comparison.

I'll look at your info when I get back from an errand. Thanks for providing it. I wish this discussion revolved around the facts more. I wish you would speak to the facts I provided more than saying "Obama is not perfect". Has he done wrong or not? Is he lying about himself or not? Does he have a real record or not? Has he done anything for the poor or not? Is he qualified or not? Does he hang out with, and provide money to racists or not?

We're supposed to be friends. Let's try the direct approach and see what it gets us.

The Crack Emcee said...

One more thing, E, about my support for McCain:

I'm a military man and I know the slanderous way those outside the military look at us. It's unfair and speaks volumes about how little civilians appreciate those who their freedom to criticize is protected by. I respect McCain's service. I think he takes the calling very seriously, in a way civilians can hardly appreciate, and his POW status is a testiment to that. (Could you have done what he did?)

John McCain has never been shy about his flaws whether they be political or personal. He's never tried to hide them. Never played games with us. Never denied he's had problems, never tried to deceive. That's honorable. He's not playing "catch me if you can" like Barack Obama. That makes him the "better" candidate.

Like I said, I've followed him a long time. Like most Democrats, I liked him when I was part of the other party. Now that he can win an election he's all of a sudden the devil against a rookie who's actually worked with a devil (Bill Ayers) it's all very strange. Before this election, you couldn't find a Democrat in America to say a bad word about John McCain. Now you can't find one to say a word in his favor. Such hypocrisy is a very sad thing to behold.

The Crack Emcee said...

Anon 1:53

I was born in California and Northern California is where my family settled.

You sound like a proponent of the recent ugly practice of balkanizing (sp) our country. Sorry to bust your bubble but it's my country and I can live where I want. Plus, everytime I say I'm leaving, my close friends beg me to stay and, as a foster child, they're all the "family" I've got.

These things, for me, aren't so simple.

Jen said...

Steve, you wrote: "Side note to Jen: For some reason your request just made its way to me." Thank you. I mistakenly thought I had left some word debris in my response, snippings that didn't quite make it to the cyber-dustbin. Turns out it looked okay after all.

Crack, you asked me: "Isn't defending terrorists wrong?"

Are you asking about defending behavior or a person? Please be more specific and, if necessary, point to a person you have in mind whose behavior you question.

In another response, you also wrote: "I won't spend my time trying to hold truth like a wet fish. Instead, I'll stab the sucker with a knife."

Is this anything like killing a butterfly just so you can pin it to a display board and admire its beauty? Sounds more like slaughter to me. ;)

Anonymous said...

"Sorry to bust your bubble but it's my country and I can live where I want."

You did not burst my bubble. I just call a hypocrite a hypocrite. Why moan and groan about a place you hate? I was born and raised in San Francisco. My family was in California when it was owned by Spain. Actually, I have California Native American blood in me so it goes back farther than that.

So you have a right to think what you want, but no one else does? Again, making you a hypocrite.

Steve Salerno said...

I'm a military man and I know the slanderous way those outside the military look at us.

Crack, this isn't just painting with a broad brush; it's pulling the lid off the bucket and tossing it haphazardly into the room. I could see if we were talking Vietnam-era sentiment, but frankly, I don't think your remark has broad application nowadays. And keep in mind--not that I expect you to accept this as any kind of credential--I worked in a highly responsible position at the American Legion National HQ for three years, so I heard it all. I even wrote speeches and position papers that were used in lobbying Congress for related legislation and improved vets' services.

Though I have my issues with the VA--which in my opinion is both underfunded and horribly run--I really think that GIs returning from Iraq, in many if not most cases, are given a loving, hero's welcome. A deserved one (again, in my opinion). What's more, military types who attain leadership positions are often highly sought-after in the corporate world.

And now I'm sure you'll find some article somewhere that shows some poor dude being mistreated, and you'll use that in evidence of your argument.

Anonymous said...

"And now I'm sure you'll find some article somewhere that shows some poor dude being mistreated, and you'll use that in evidence of your argument."

I tell you he would do better if just chose Spuds. People like dogs.

ellen said...

I think Crack is just lapping up the attention this so-called argument is bringing him. This is going to go on forever.

RevRon's Rants said...

"I'm a military man and I know the slanderous way those outside the military look at us."

I was a military man, as well, and know how desperately the military tries to downplay (or erase) anything that might tarnish its image. Been there, done that. And McCain is very much endowed with the proverbial "military mind."

In practice, such a mind is not the best qualification for the presidency. Our founders knew this very well, which is why the ultimate decisions as to military activities are made by civilians. Military objectives are too myopic to be the primary driving force in government - even in the decision whether to resort to the use of force. It takes individuals with a more comprehensive view of the world, whose concept of success encompasses far more than battlefield victories.

Furthermore, I am familiar enough with PTSD (we called it combat neurosis during Vietnam and Shell Shock during WWII) to know that someone who suffered years of torture in a North Vietnamese prison camp simply does not have the right temperament to make the best decisions in international diplomacy. And we damn sure don't need such a person's finger anywhere near the red button.

McCain's hypocrisy and willingness to roll over for political expediency aside, we live in dangerous times, where a cool head and a broad perspective are infinitely more essential to effective leadership than a "nuke 'em" mentality.

Elizabeth said...

CMC, the criticisms of McCain's "hero" status do not come from outside the military but from within it. From serious questions regarding his truthfulness about his mistreatment during his captivity (questions based on legit documents, including his own interviews), to his subsequent indifference to the plight of the Viet veterans, and his recent record of voting against provisions that would help vets and soldiers now serving.

Not to mention his war "accomplishments" which were, even in his own words, motivated by vanity rather than a desire to serve, and included killing untold number of civilians.

McCain's war hero persona appears to be largely a publicity shtick, overblown for political purposes. But one cannot question it without inciting righteous outrage and accusations of treason or such. Well.

As to his adultery, the man has always been a womanizer, according to people who know him. Even before his first marriage. He earned a reputation as a ladies man and an unpleasant sorta fellow, quick to anger and contempt (had a nickname McNasty or something close, if I recall correctly).

And I hope you are not saying that abandoning his wife, who stuck by him through thick and thin, just because she was disfigured in a serious car crash (which necessitated over 20 surgeries) is justified, no?

Yes, his first wife appears to support him now -- but what do you expect her to say, really? She is still the mother of their children. She is doing the right thing to defend their father publicly -- or at least not smear him.

I don't like McCain and I don't trust him. Just like you do not like and do not trust Obama. But, you know, this is not about the personalities of these two candidates. We would have the exact same discussion if it were Clinton vs. Romney, Kucinich vs. Thompson, or Jesus Christ vs. Pontius Pilate, with some minor variations.

The individual personalities are just the canvas for each of us to paint our values (as well as prejudices) on. We are really talking about two very different worldviews, which, I'm afraid, are not reconcilable -- and that's why they elicit such strong responses and lead to ideological wars, even among friends.

Seems to me that in order to remain friends, we'd have to be quiet about politics. And/or make a conscious effort to accept each other's POV without necessarily sharing it. Sort of "I forgive your misguided biases if you forgive mine." Unfortunately, I just don't see a middle ground, given the vast differences in values, and worldviews these values have shaped, on both sides of the political debate.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:08

"Why moan and groan about a place you hate?"

Um, because I hate it?

"I was born and raised in San Francisco. My family was in California when it was owned by Spain. Actually, I have California Native American blood in me so it goes back farther than that."

I know: all NewAgers have Native American blood in them. Or so they say. It's a hell of a scam.

"So you have a right to think what you want, but no one else does?"

Like I'm stopping anyone from speaking by writing a blog or posting on one. Is that really what you believe?

"Again, making you a hypocrite."

Whatever, dude/dudette. You really are from here, that's for sure. How you think I'll like it, sharing space with thinking like this, is beyond me. BTW, my roommate thinks it's nutty, too.

Anonymous said...

Crack's support of McCain is funny since he lives in California. California has voted Democratic in the last three elections and Obama is nearly double McCain in California so even with Crack's vote, the state will more than likely go to Obama. That is why neither one is spending much time in the Golden State. Need I remind everyone the U.S. has an electorial collage. Crack would do better in a "swing" state if he cared so much.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth,

I've looked over your "evidence" and I agree with "Stanley Kutler, professor of law at the University of Wisconsin and editor of The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War," when he calls "the behavior of these people 'Sick. If it weren't so sick, it would be laughable. These are not nice people.'" Why would you consider this evidence of McCain's wrong-doing? One guy even admits he does it "to keep myself busy and appease my dislike for McCain."

The people McCain served with (unlike the people Kerry served with, who were backed up by T. Boone Pickens with a million dollars if anyone could prove them wrong) say John McCain is a war hero. These accusers are just a bunch of yahoos.
Surely you know the difference, don't you?

Jen,

For the sake of this conversation, I'll limit it to Bill Ayers. He's admitted he's "guilty as sin" but got off on a technicality. So, surely, to defend him is wrong?

You ask, "Is [nailing truth down] anything like killing a butterfly just so you can pin it to a display board and admire its beauty?"

Yes and no. It's been said that we're in a "cultural war" in this country. A war of ideas. The Baby Boom brought a rash of ideas into play that many, myself included, think are harmful and outright lies. Focusing on the presidential realm, the Baby Boom produced two presidents (compared to the "Greatest Generation" which produced 8). The Baby Boom gave us one president who proved ineffectual, and did the country serious harm, in one term (Carter) and one who proved to be a profound embarrassment and was impeached after two terms (Clinton). Part of the reason I like McCain/Palin is because they represent a skipping of that entire era: McCain, being from before the Baby Boom, speaks to a sense of tradition and duty that was denigrated during the 60's; and Palin, at the age of 44, speaks to the future. Neither of them accepts, or represents, the ideas of the 60's. They represent a return to basics, and accountability - McCain says he'll name names

Elizabeth,

"CMC, the criticisms of McCain's "hero" status do not come from outside the military but from within it."

Yes, but not from the men who served with him in those camps. And the accusers you showed me are wingnuts. They practically say so themselves. Why not take them at their word?

"Not to mention his war "accomplishments" which were, even in his own words, motivated by vanity rather than a desire to serve, and included killing untold number of civilians."

That's a low blow. See, you guys want to complain about language when you'll gladly engage some of the most despicable ideas imaginable. We saw it when Palin emerged. Just disgusting. What do you care why he was a good soldier? He was a good soldier, showed incredible bravery, and stood up for the ideals of our nation. Period. You wouldn't do it - for anything.

"McCain's war hero persona appears to be largely a publicity shtick, overblown for political purposes."

Duh - this is a political campaign.

"As to his adultery, the man has always been a womanizer, according to people who know him. Even before his first marriage. He earned a reputation as a ladies man and an unpleasant sorta fellow, quick to anger and contempt (had a nickname McNasty or something close, if I recall correctly)."

What he did before he was married ain't adultery, E. And, from the looks of this thread, he ain't the only one that's quick to anger.

"I hope you are not saying that abandoning his wife, who stuck by him through thick and thin, just because she was disfigured in a serious car crash (which necessitated over 20 surgeries) is justified, no?"

I'm saying outsiders have no right to judge if his ex-wife says she understands what happened. We have no right to re-frame it if we're not in it, like the John Edwards affair. He put the Democratic Party at risk and he was running for president. Like the charge that Palin's husband got a DUI 22 years ago, Democrats will throw anything out there, no matter how ancient, or who they hurt (do you really think this line of attack makes his ex feel better?) it only makes the accusers look bad.

"Yes, his first wife appears to support him now -- but what do you expect her to say, really? She is still the mother of their children. She is doing the right thing to defend their father publicly -- or at least not smear him."

Again with the psychoanalysis. It's wrong, E. You ought to be ashamed.

"I don't like McCain and I don't trust him. Just like you do not like and do not trust Obama. But, you know, this is not about the personalities of these two candidates. We would have the exact same discussion if it were Clinton vs. Romney, Kucinich vs. Thompson, or Jesus Christ vs. Pontius Pilate, with some minor variations."

Wrong. These two men have records. One is known quantity, with a clean record, and a reputation for working across the aisle. The other is a rookie with a nasty group of operatives and no accomplishments. There's just no comparison. And word to the Obama supporters: That Jesus/Pilate jibe is a loser: Barack ain't Jesus.

"The individual personalities are just the canvas for each of us to paint our values (as well as prejudices) on. We are really talking about two very different worldviews, which, I'm afraid, are not reconcilable -- and that's why they elicit such strong responses and lead to ideological wars, even among friends."

This is only true as long as you ignore their records, something you obviously are determined to do. Get away from personalities and use their records and Barack Obama isn't worthy of being in a race with McCain. Obama's an empty suit - a man with no record, or a record of lies - so you have to rely on personality to support him. Sorry, but I think when we're talking about the presidency (and especially in wartime) the country deserves better.

"Seems to me that in order to remain friends, we'd have to be quiet about politics. And/or make a conscious effort to accept each other's POV without necessarily sharing it. Sort of "I forgive your misguided biases if you forgive mine." Unfortunately, I just don't see a middle ground, given the vast differences in values, and worldviews these values have shaped, on both sides of the political debate."

Again: as long as you won't compare their records, this just may be so.

CMC

ellen said...

Rev Ron 4.39pm
Very well put, Rev Ron, regarding the time and place for the military mind. We had this in the UK with Churchill, universally revered to this day as an irreplaceable leader during WW2, but voted out during the first peacetime election.
Churchill felt betrayed but the electorate recognised that very different skills were needed to rebuild the country, the psyche, the new world in the aftermath.
I greatly admire the discipline and sense of mission of the military mind--go to war without it and you're f*cked before you start--but it needs tempering with a much broader vision if our intention is to live in relative peace with our neighbours.

Steve Salerno said...

And on a technical note: Anyone having Blogger problems this morning? I can't seem to create a new file, or make any changes in existing ones.

RevRon's Rants said...

Ellen - The inadvisability of having a "military mind" in charge of diplomatic priorities is clearly exemplified in blogs like this one. The military is, by its very nature (and indeed, by necessity), paranoid and oblivious to the complexities of diplomacy. When there is no real war to fight, the military mind invents a "culture war," where one side is a subhuman enemy in need of annihilation by the other.

In combat, one does not have the luxury of considering the enemy as a complete human being; he is an evil entity that must be destroyed. The experiences of combat serve to reinforce this perspective. You see your friends killed, and you naturally assume that their killers are evil. To even consider that your enemy might have hopes, dreams, family, and values is to invite the deepest sense of shame.

The more reasoned observer knows that life is rarely a clearly defined case of good versus evil, and that different cultures must learn to see each other's value in order to survive.

It's too bad that our presidential campaigns have deteriorated into contests where each candidate seeks to portray the other as evil, rather than expending that effort describing one's own vision and qualifications. To his credit, Obama's campaign started out by sharing his vision and letting people know about him. When McCain/Rove began their smear campaign against him, the knee-jerk crowd responded, and Obama realized that unless he was able to counter the appeals to the lowest common denominator, he could well lose the election. Doesn't speak well for us as a voting public, does it?

I don't expect the apologists on either side to act reasonably, or to even consider that the "other" side might have valid points. Obviously, the biggest crackpots have no idea that they're crackpots at all. What was initially borne of a lack of intelligence, exacerbated by fear, has evolved into a political survival tool.

My real hope (and belief) is that *reasonable* voters will go to the polls in November and ensure that our country abandons its present myopic endeavors.

Anonymous said...

About Mccain and his "understanding" wife.

Crack, how come you and your fellow rethugs were not so kind when the Clintons were involved? Hillary "understood" what happened, but you kept trashing both her and Bill--for that very reason. Your hypocrisy is stunning.

Elizabeth said...

CMC, I think your last responses show why we cannot have a discussion on politics -- and certainly not about the candidates.

You ask me to focus on facts; when I do, however, you not only slam my choice of the facts and their interpretation, but, as if your agenda in doing it was not obvious enough, you also "shame me" for doing so.

Now, what kind of a discourse is that? It may feel right to you, for some reason, to shame your interlocutors for having ideas different from your own, but it does not advance the discussion, does it. It also exposes your real agenda, CMC. Seems you are interested in "facts" only when they support your POV and are unwilling (unable?) to assess them objectively and/or acknowledge a possibility of a different interpretation.

You really do not want to talk, do you -- as in, have an honest give-and-take of arguments, with consideration and respect given to your interlocutor. I'm sorry to say it appears that you simply want to cram your ideology down other people's throats -- and you "lubricate" it with repeated doses of "shame" (or attempts at shame, rather) to make swallowing it more efficient or at all possible.

If you were able to see your behavior more objectively, you'd notice that this is a mind-control technique used in cults, among other things. Oh, the irony.

Jen said...

CMC, you wrote:

"Jen, For the sake of this conversation, I'll limit it to Bill Ayers. He's admitted he's "guilty as sin" but got off on a technicality. So, surely, to defend him is wrong?"

Thank you for the response. I still don't get what you are asking. A yes or no? Defense is ambiguous here.

"You ask, 'Is [nailing truth down] anything like killing a butterfly just so you can pin it to a display board and admire its beauty?' Yes and no. It's been said that we're in a "cultural war" in this country. A war of ideas. The Baby Boom brought a rash of ideas into play that many, myself included, think are harmful and outright lies. Focusing on the presidential realm, the Baby Boom produced two presidents (compared to the 'Greatest Generation' which produced 8). The Baby Boom gave us one president who proved ineffectual, and did the country serious harm, in one term (Carter) and one who proved to be a profound embarrassment and was impeached after two terms (Clinton). Part of the reason I like McCain/Palin is because they represent a skipping of that entire era: McCain, being from before the Baby Boom, speaks to a sense of tradition and duty that was denigrated during the 60's; and Palin, at the age of 44, speaks to the future. Neither of them accepts, or represents, the ideas of the 60's. They represent a return to basics, and accountability - McCain says he'll name names"

There is plenty to think about here, but at the same time you present a rather black and white outlook: Baby Boomers, the Greatest Generation, and "the ideas of the 60's," as if all of this can somehow be put into boxes and labeled. Did nothing good come out of the 60's, or are people particularly doomed because of the generation they (we) happened to be born into? Basics and accountability are great, sure, but are vague concepts unless something specific is attached to them.

I'm not really knocking your opinions so much as I'm merely trying to follow your logic. And I appreciate what you are pointing out, keeping us alert. Thanks!

Since this whole thread started on September 11th, I will point to an article I just found by a person who I went to see one month after the tragedy in 2001. He had a "teach in" at a local university campus here. I thought of him this morning after I read the article you sent. Arrogance, ignorance, and cowardice: Lessons from 9/11

Mike Cane said...

Damn! 152 Comments by the time I got back here.

Steve: I wasn't about to change the title of the headline chosen by that blogger. However, I might have thought to provide tinyURLs which people could c&p, instead of the post's titles.

>>>For those who don't know what "not a Republican" stands for, here is an abbreviated crib note*:

Elizabeth, for the win!

Elizabeth said...

:) Thanks, Mike!

Anonymous said...

I'm a newcomer to this blog so I don't know alot of the history that seems to be a factor here, but I have to say that just reading what's actually here, most of you folks who attack "Crack" are every bit as nasty and personal to him as he is to any of you! In fact I think the criticism against Crack is worse, since he's being ganged up on and really has no allies. What's so noble and ethical about taking advantage of the underdog? Besides, even your Mommas would tell you that two wrongs don't make a right.

RevRon's Rants said...

Anon 8:34 - Actually, my mom would've never tolerated me standing by and being browbeaten without defending myself, and what you've seen a few folks do here would have made her proud. Furthermore, she was insistent upon learning both sides of a situation before jumping in and passing judgment. Smart woman.

Anonymous said...

Nice try, "Anon."

Steve Salerno said...

In fairness to Anon 8:34, I don't think we should rush to judgment and make the assumption that Anon 9:36 makes. I could always be wrong, but unless a certain party is far more of a master of disguising his writing voice than I'm giving him credit for, Anon 8:34 is indeed an Anon, not just one of the usual suspects here. And I think the point s/he makes is a not-unreasonable one (from the POV of someone who's just stumbling upon this thread), deserving of more than a snide dismissal.

Elizabeth said...

This interesting story about Palin:

Palin linked electoral success to prayer of Kenyan witchhunter

The pastor whose prayer Sarah Palin says helped her to become governor of Alaska founded his ministry with a witchhunt against a Kenyan woman who he accused of causing car accidents through demonic spells.

At a speech at the Wasilla Assembly of God on June 8 this year, Mrs Palin described how Thomas Muthee had laid his hands on her when he visited the church as a guest preacher in late 2005, prior to her successful gubernatorial bid.


Full text:
http://tinyurl.com/68ccgr

Anonymous said...

"I'm a newcomer to this blog so I don't know alot of the history that seems to be a factor here, but I have to say that just reading what's actually here, most of you folks who attack "Crack" are every bit as nasty and personal to him as he is to any of you! In fact I think the criticism against Crack is worse, since he's being ganged up on and really has no allies. What's so noble and ethical about taking advantage of the underdog? Besides, even your Mommas would tell you that two wrongs don't make a right."

Anon you answered your own question. All you have to do is go back in the archives and posts to see why so many have "ganged" up on Crack. Crack brought on his own attack. If you give it, you better be ready to take it.

Anonymous said...

Far from being "the underdog," Crack presents himself as the smartest and most informed blogger on this forum. Not to mention the only one who knows the truth. Nice try, Anon or "Anon," but your charge of "unethical attacking of the underdog" is misplaced here.

Anonymous said...

Interesting and explains much about this thread:

http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2007/09/cut_and_paste_denialism.php

RevRon's Rants said...

Anonymous 4:06 - Interesting use of copy and paste to present one's viewpoint. :-)

ellen said...

Anonymous 4.06pm
I followed the thread you supplied---the science bit went over my head but the comments were hilarious. A poster called S.H.A.M. Scam Sam rants on endlessly in a very, very familiar way. The scientists were razor sharp at deconstructing the rants and inventively vicious at returning the insults and abuse. Sam was swiftly 'disemvowelled'
Entertaining and educational.

The Crack Emcee said...

Editor’s Choice: The new “white people” are bigoted, but not the way you think—or they’ll admit.

by Benjamin Schwarz

Intolerant Chic

In January, Christian Lander—a 29-year-old Toronto-raised, McGill-educated Ph.D. dropout who worked as a corporate communications manager in Los Angeles—started a blog called Stuff White People Like. By February, the site was a runaway hit, garnering 30,000 hits daily. By March, it was getting 300,000. SWPL—which catalogs the tastes, prejudices, and consumption habits of well-off, well-educated, youngish, self-described progressives—was refreshing because it’s everything a blog, almost by definition, is not. Rather than serving up unedited, impromptu, self-important ruminations on random events and topics, the tightly focused, stylishly written, precisely observed entries eschew the genre’s characteristic I (though Lander in fact writes nearly all of them) and adopt a cool, never snarky though sometimes biting, pseudo-anthropological tone.

The considered but undeveloped entries provide ample fodder for a penetrating book, in which Lander could have defined and explored the ramifications (cultural, sociological, political) of his subject, or at least addressed some of the controversies and misconceptions his site has engendered—many of which are provoked by its title. Instead, publisher and author have chosen not to monkey with success. Leaving aside the delightfully off-kilter photographs and the too-cute flowcharts and quizzes, this all-but-instant work (book deal in March, publication in July) is an assemblage of Lander’s blog essays—including those available on the site when the book went to the printer plus 75 new ones, about the same length as the originals. Even if the book is frustratingly skeletal, perhaps 20 of the 150 total entries should have been cut, and while Lander is a terrific writer, rigorous editing would have made them all sharper. But the book—by virtue of both the new entries and the ease of reading Lander’s observations seriatim—reveals the author to be a weightier and angrier cultural critic than his fans and detractors apprehend.

Lander’s White People aren’t always white, and the vast majority of whites aren’t White People (he doesn’t even capitalize the term). But although Lander’s designation is peculiar, he’s hardly the first to dissect this elite and its immediate predecessors (see for instance Mark E. Kann’s Middle Class Radicalism in Santa Monica, Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism, Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class, and David Brooks’s Bobos in Paradise—Brooks calls these people variously “bourgeois bohemians,” the “educated elite,” and the “cosmopolitan class”). Lander, like many of these writers, traces this group’s values to the 1960s, and there’s clearly a connection between a politics based on “self-cultivation” (to quote the Students for a Democratic Society’s gaseous manifesto, the Port Huron Statement) and what Lander defines as White People’s ethos: “their number-one concern is about the best way to make themselves happy.” That concern progresses naturally into consumer narcissism and a fixation on health and “well-being”: Lander’s most entertaining and spot-on entries dissect White People’s elaborate sumptuary codes, their dogged pursuit of their own care and feeding, and their efforts to define themselves and their values through their all-but-uniform taste and accessories (Sedaris/Eggers/The Daily Show/the right indie music/Obama bumper stickers/uh, The New Yorker).

So why call this group “White People”? Lander is almost certainly being mischievous. After all, dismissing something or someone as “so white” has long been a favorite put-down among those who like to view themselves as right-thinking, hierarchy-defying nonconformists—that is, White People. Recall those ads extolling “the new face of wealth,” which contrast male, stone-faced WASP bankers with attractive, far less formally—though far more expensively—clad women, quasi-hipsters, and assorted exotic ethnics. The women and hipsters may be white, but they’re not white—they’re members of the cool-looking pan-ethnic tribe, a tribe defined by economic and social status and by cultural and aesthetic preferences rather than by ethnicity. When I interviewed Lander on the telephone in July, he acknowledged that White People are in fact “desperate to define themselves as other than white.” Indeed, he rightly places “diversity” and “tolerance” highest on the list of virtues prized by White People (as did Brooks for Bobos). Of course, this group shuns the suburbs (sterile, bland … white—a view that hasn’t advanced much since Malvina Reynolds’s contemptuous “Little Boxes” of 1962) while it embraces certain neighborhoods as “authentic” (Williamsburg, Echo Park, the Mission) and spurns other enclaves and cities (say, Astoria, Reseda, Concord). Lander’s White People approve of the kind of diversity that affords them the aesthetic and consumer benefits of what they like to think of as urban life—that is, the kind that allows them to

get sushi and tacos on the same street. But they will also send their kids to private school with other rich white kids so that they can avoid the “low test scores” that come with educational diversity.

Here and elsewhere, accompanying the book’s mockery of the essentially innocuous solipsism of White People is what Lander, a man of the left, described to me as his exasperation with progressives’ “cultural righteousness” and “intolerance and groupthink”—a set of attitudes that enhances and is enhanced by a profoundly smug and incurious outlook. To be sure, these faults aren’t peculiar to the progressive and the hip, but Lander repeatedly and cleverly shows how some of White People’s favorite activities (watching political documentaries, “raising awareness,” foreign travel), which they complacently embrace as broadening, are in fact lazy and tend to be intellectually and politically stultifying: White People “like feeling smart without doing work—two hours in a theater is easier than ten hours with a book.”

More damning is the conclusion produced by a careful reading of this often fine-grained semi-sociological analysis: a good deal of the progressives’ attitudes, preferences, and sense of identity are ingrained in an unlovely disdain for those outside their charmed circle. In Lander’s analysis, much of their self-satisfaction derives from consumption (the slack-sounding “stuff” in the title is deceptively apt)—and much of that consumption is motivated by a desire to differentiate themselves from the benighted. Sushi, for instance, is “everything [White People] want: foreign culture, expensive, healthy, and hated by the ‘uneducated.’” And whatever its goals, the ACLU is beloved by White People, Lander satirically but not wholly unjustifiably asserts, because it protects them “from having to look at things they don’t like. At the top of this list is anything that has to do with Christianity”—an aversion, Lander discerns, rooted not in religious enmity but in taste (Christianity is “a little trashy”), formed largely by class and education. To those of this mind-set, the problem with a great many Americans is that they don’t “care about the right things.”

In fact, he asserts in a somewhat atypical aside that betrays the steel behind his joshing, White People “really do hate a significant portion of the population.” But Lander, usually the nonchalant observer, never lapses into the easy faux populism of the right, and although he doesn’t overstate White People’s alienation from the culture and politics of the American majority, it’s striking that his (to my mind accurate) list of the political and intellectual heroes of the young, affluent, and progressive—Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore—includes figures, wise or foolish, who are pretty detached from the mainstream (a fact made conspicuous in a comparison to the saints of the young progressives of the early-1960s, Ben Shahn–print-loving variety: Eleanor Roosevelt and Norman Thomas).

More important, for those whose “politics” are almost entirely gestural, not only do the personal and the political insidiously entwine, so do the aesthetic and the political. The logic, born in college dining halls and now embraced by people well into adulthood, that holds that donning a colored plastic bracelet or a kaffiyeh is an act of personal and political self-definition can and does attach the same significance to snowboarding and to selecting one’s iPod playlist. When everything is “political,” of course, nothing is. Moreover, this way of thinking is hardly a formula for the “change” so much in vogue and for the coalition-building required of a mass politics of the progressive or any other variety. Yes, yes, we’ve reached the highest stage of capitalism, and with it the personal choice and diversity so beloved of White People. But those who strive for truly radical—that is, class-based—political change must long for the days of a crude and relatively undifferentiated popular and consumer culture, when stuff was just … stuff.

Steve Salerno said...

I hear what you're saying, Crack, but my first thought on reading this was, Damn, this guy got MY book deal...!

So I guess he's right about the narcissism (if nothing else), huh?

ellen said...

Steve,
How can you hear what Crack is saying?
He hasn't said anything, he has just pinched some-one elses words that fit (very loosely) his bug bear of the moment.
Cut-and-paste denialism of the first order and requiring even less effort than the two hours needed to view a political documentary or the ten hours to read a book.
You are pandering to Crack's ignorance and laziness if you read Schwartz's piece and then do as Crack expects, which is to somehow morph Schwartz's considered thoughts into Crack's addled brain and then treat this cut-and-paste job as Crack's own view and more importantly, vindication of his stance; a stance I, for one, forgot about 150 comments ago when he first hi-jacked the topic to aggrandise himself.
Narcissm? Take a look in the mirror.

ellen said...

I am a suspicious old feminist, when I read the science blog thread, the phrase 'why don't you grow a pair' had me clicking on Sam's link and hey presto it's the macho man himself, responding, as always, with borrowed bits of other peoples work.
Then I began to wonder if Sam and Crack were both alter egos of Steve, devised for some devious marketing ploy.
No, I decided, what sane person would willingly morph himself into Crack's strange world, that sounds like hard work and even Crack doesn't rate that too highly.
Now that you are pandering to him again, I'm wondering again.

Elizabeth said...

Ellen, you go, girl! :)

Though I assure you that Steve is not morphing into Crack and vice versa. We (SHAMblog posters) have it on good authority that they are two (very) different individuals.

However, SHAM Scam Sam from the denialism thread appears to be very much one CMC.

And the one Anon here (from the "underdog" phrase) also has a familiar ring, LOL.

Sigh. So many faux personalities, so little time...

RevRon's Rants said...

When I was little, my world was inhabited by - among other things - closet monsters, who existed purely to devour me as soon as the lights went out. For a few years, all it took to protect me was the impenetrable armor of my blanket, pulled taught over my head. Such was the cult of childhood.

Then, I grew up, and realized that the biggest closet monsters were the creations of my own fear. Just as turning on a light had earlier changed a closet monster into my favorite jacket, slung across the back of a chair, so did a bit of education and life experience show me that the "they" whom some find so terrifying might well be dear friends, once I was able to turn on the lights of good sense and get past my fear.

Anonymous said...

Since you guys and gals think you have your "gotcha" moment with the SHAM Scam Sam moniker, I think it, at least, deserves adressing:

1) It's a tribute to Steve's book, and the road it set me on, as I began investigating one layer of the NewAge beliefs my ex-wife indulged in. And, for this, I will always be grateful to him.

2) Rather than trying to hide my identity, SSS came about because I had a problem logging into denialism.com one day (just as something's different with me logging in here now) and the site demanded I re-log under a new name. I stuck with it for a while (there's some battles fought on Salon.com with it, too) but decided, since others wrongly assumed the same as you, that it should be abandoned.

Poof! Another (wrong) "belief" blown to bits by the truth.

People, you'd do well to look up the meaning of words like "relativism", "post-modernism", "Marxism", "totalitarianism", "duality", and "deconstruction", to understand yourselves better - you're lost - and it's only a matter of time before you realize you can't win.

I choose to engage you in my rough-and-tumble style because, having come out the ghetto - straight into "Stuff White People Like" - I know you, or, at least, I know you're not what you pretend: You claim to be tolerant, but as your nasty attacks on me - and Sarah Palin - make clear, you're only tolerant of others who agree with you. You claim to be on the side of right, but as Elizabeth's diss of my call for her personal shame reveals, one can only feel shame if they know there's such a thing as having done wrong. You claim to be "spiritual" and "non-violent" when the Buddhist who goes by the name "rev" has implied, several times on this forum, that he'd be happy to knock my teeth out. Are you getting my point?

I'll let others play politely with you. I won't. Why? Because 1) I know it doesn't work with NewAge Leftists, and 2) I don't think you deserve it. And one more thing - and I really think you should pay attention to this: it's only a matter of time before your thirst for over-reaching will cause other conservatives to decide the same. It's been noted, by me and others, that this election has driven you to drop your facades. Everyone can see you for what you are now, like they're noticing the gargoyles on a cathedral for the first time, and you're not pretty. More than few NewAgers have told me, as a black man in their midst, they want a Civil War. Well, keep it up, and there's a pretty good chance you're going to get it.

Take care,

CMC

Anonymous said...

Soory, E, but I'm not the "underdog" guy.

Kiddo, you're starting to live in a world of shadows,...not healthy.

I really thought you were different.

Silly me.

Anonymous said...

"since others wrongly assumed the same as you"

What have "we" "wrongly" assumed? That SSS was you, Crack? It was not "assumed," it was obvious, and, obviously, it was not wrong.

For all your pontificating about "ethics" and what have you, you quickly reveal what's behind it all--paranoia and hatred of those who do not think like you, which happens to be oh, about 3/4 or so of the world population.

You're really off your rocker, man.

RevRon's Rants said...

Crack, I won't speak for anyone else, but I tolerate disagreement quite well. What I *don't* tolerate is engaging in discourse with someone who is apparently incapable of civility, and who demands the right to be as abrasive and obnoxious as he feels, while hiding behind the absurd flag of his own definition of integrity. Learn how to engage in adult, intelligent dialog, and you won't face the kind of reactions you've gotten here so many times. And your, "I can't help it, because I grew up in the ghetto" excuse is just that - an excuse. And a lame one, at that. Too many others have emerged from ignorant hatred to become productive adults.

I have no doubt that there are others who share your viewpoints, but you're deluding yourself if you think their numbers are remotely significant enough to constitute a movement.

You said, "You claim to be "spiritual" and "non-violent" when the Buddhist who goes by the name "rev" has implied, several times on this forum, that he'd be happy to knock my teeth out."

You're quite fond of copying and pasting other people's words. Please feel free to copy and paste *my* statements that support your claim. And in context, if you don't mind. I'll wait...

Steve Salerno said...

It's interesting that the thread that now owns the all-time SHAMblog record for comments--eclipsing the previous high of 160-something--is also the one that has proved so problematic for me. Look, this is touchy terrain, and we got off on the wrong foot--meaning that I allowed a few people on both sides of the aisle a bit of extra leeway here. And if I'm going to be honest, I probably started the whole thing with my testy response to an anonymous critique, early on. Whatever the case, the barbs started flying back and forth, and we've now deteriorated to the point where we're basically just finding inventive ways to call each other names.

Viewpoints that expand the debate are always valuable, which is why I almost never call a formal halt to a thread, even when things are close to getting out of hand. So if you have a reasonable response to any of what's been said here, I welcome it. But if your response is on the order of, "Your last comment just proves what a gold-plated jerk you are," then really...what's the point? Seems like that's already been said in spades here.

Elizabeth said...

Steve, I'm with you on that. But, honestly, what would be considered a "reasonable response" at this point?

Anonymous said...

Rev,

You misread me: I didn't mean I take this approach because I'm from the ghetto (though it helps) but because, as I said, I don't think you deserve otherwise.

Steve wants civility (and I don't want to crawl through all our posts) so I'm going to pass on finding your threats. But you said them, and I know it. I don't expect Steve to step in and say so, but, I'm guessing, he remembers them also.

Steve,

I'm pretty sure a good number of the high-ranking posts involved me, and I think it's relevant that I'm black, a Republican, and a conservative (and always outnumbered). All three speak to the biases, and bigotry, mentioned in the "Stuff White People Like" column in some way. It also speaks to the subtitle "bigoted, but not the way you think—or they’ll admit." Considering most people (pretty-much) think the SWPL site, as an anthropological statement, is spot-on, I'd think you (or someone else) would want to deal with that last assertion: what are you guys not admitting? I suspect there's a lot.

I've made the point that these defenses rarely go to the point of my assertions - even "yes" or "no" questions - preferring to attack my use of language, or to make up (wrong) assumptions about why a question is posed to begin with, like group-think (also mentioned in the column) should be the order of the day when someone obviously different (me) is amongst you. You said you understood why I posted the column. Maybe you can address that? And directly, please.

CMC

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:04,

"For all your pontificating about "ethics" and what have you, you quickly reveal what's behind it all--paranoia and hatred of those who do not think like you, which happens to be oh, about 3/4 or so of the world population."


"When everyone is against you, it means you are absolutely wrong -- or you are absolutely right."

-- Albert Guinon

Considering so few of you attempt to debunk my assertions, or defend ethics yourselves - preferring, instead, to attack my language and style of approach or making assumptions about me - I'm pretty sure it's the latter.

Anonymous said...

"For all your pontificating about "ethics" and what have you, you quickly reveal what's behind it all--paranoia and hatred of those who do not think like you, which happens to be oh, about 3/4 or so of the world population."

That's delusional thinking. The SWPL column says the haters are you guys - I'm the one standing up for, and in touch with, America. And, while I care what "the world" thinks - whoo-hoo! - I care more about what America thinks. Let's look at what we can find for proof of your claims, though:

According to those that follow these things, my party is poised to win this election (maybe, as I've predicted) in a landslide. (I hope you guys will take notice of my sources: left and right, no Daily Kos, etc., nonsense.)

According to Technorati, my blog has almost 10 times the authority of Cosmic Connie's (who I mention because you all know it and we "work the same side of the street") and that's even though she started before me, writes more of her own stuff (I don't always have the time because I can't type) is supposedly a "nicer" person, and uses puns as her hook. And, also, most of that change has been in this year alone.

And finally - where the rubber really meets the road - I'm humbled by the knowledge my blog will be paying a significant portion of my rent this month, insuring I can devote more time to it, and all of it purely from donations.

Put it all together and I'd say, for someone so out of step, I've got a lot to feel confident about and proud of. Like I said before - keep it up, people:

You're changing "the world" as you know it,...but probably not as you think.

Steve Salerno said...

Come on, Crack. Let's make a deal: Don't insult my intelligence and I won't insult yours. I'm going to provide a few answers which--given the history of this thread--no doubt you will label as non-answers. But I'm going to try, and we'll hope for the best.

The piece you posted (and the site from which it grows) is clear in its denunciation of cultist pseudo-elitists who hypocritically espouse beliefs they don't really feel and go through the motions of conforming to a certain Group Image in their lives as a whole; they worship what they think they're supposed to worship in order to retain membership in the "club." (The site itself is more playful and ironic in its denunciations, but the contempt is just as clear.) That pretty much cover it? I don't see how that applies here--and it certainly doesn't apply with me. Go back and read your SHAMblog, man, prior to, say, March of this year. I have been nothing if not inconsistent. (That's a good thing in my book, at least on SHAMblog.) I try to play the iconoclast and devil's advocate whenever/wherever possible.

But we're coming up on an election, and I have strong feelings about the importance of that election, and I've gone public with those feelings. (Even if you spend your life playing devil's advocate, when you walk into that booth, you have to vote for somebody.) I grant you your right to see it differently, and vote GOP if you want. I don't understand it, speaking on a personal basis, but I guess I respect it--and I certainly don't think I'm "right" in any epistemological sense! This is just how I came down on things, given the options we've got.

And, yanno, though you want to blow off the whole issue of form vs. function, what's happening in this blog is a very real and powerful microcosm of what's happening nationwide and, indeed, globally. The rhetoric gets inflamed. Instead of Person A saying "this is what I believe," and Person B saying "well, this is what I believe," it comes out with Person A saying "You're wrong! You're a moron!" and Person B replying, "No, you're wrong! You're a moron!" There can be no meeting of the minds in such a framework. There can be no compromise or conciliation. There can't even be mutual respect. Have you ever had an argument where you knew that you were willing, deep underneath, to give in...but because of pride or machismo or whatever you want to call it, instead of making the peace--which is what you should have done (and what you wish you'd done, in retrospect)--you ended up saying all kinds of strident, hateful things that you felt you had to say to defend your honor?

That's what appears--to me--to be happening here. The words matter. The form matters, at least as much as the content. Our friend McLuhan was right-on.

RevRon's Rants said...

"Steve wants civility (and I don't want to crawl through all our posts) so I'm going to pass on finding your threats."

Uh huh... this from someone who demands direct responses, not to mention his absolute right to be uncivil. I never make threats, and certainly not from a place of safety behind the keyboard.

You just don't get it, crack. The objection has always been to your unwillingness (or perhaps your inability) to discuss matters without belittling anyone and anything that is beyond your own personal perspective and comfort zone. And your desperate (and it is obviously desperate) need to make others wrong, just so you can continue telling yourself you're right is tiring, to say the least.

Steve Salerno said...

Also--let me just throw this in--when you're asking for reasons why I might vote Democratic, please don't forget about my posts of July 12, 2007 and December 13, 2007, both of which were (obviously) written long before I "declared" for a candidate. I am not a fan of capital punishment. But in those posts, I venture that there are many levels of white-collar crime (and other venal actions by big business) that should draw the death penalty before a "garden-variety" homicide, simply by virtue of their much wider impact on society-at-large. And this is from someone who used to write regularly for the Wall Street Journal.

Keep that in mind.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

First, I don't think it's a bad answer. It even made made laugh.

I outgrew the "protecting my honor" thing a long time ago. Haven't I given in to you before? Apologized to you before? I think truth is more important than that. If I'm wrong, and you can prove it, then I'm wrong. Period. I end up fighting, here and on other pseudo-Lib sites, because it's they who refuse to concede a point.

I think what you choose (operative word there) to ban as "You're a moron!" is really Democracy in action. I've been called a "nigger" to many times in my life to let a name bother me. Many SHAMbloggers choose (operative word) instead to whine and scream and write you e-mails to try to change the rules every chance they get. That's not being an adult but a child. Some people (I won't name any names) are morons. That word was invented for a reason: to identify morons. That's one of the things I dislike most about NewAge culture: the way it wants to flip the world upside-down to accomadate their feelings. They're the kids who got beat up in childhood and now, as adults, they want to change the rules rather than learn the lesson that they're messed up and nobody likes them. As I said, they'll keep pushing it until they end up getting another beating from the same people. Can't we all get along? Sure, when you guys grow up. Prolonging adolescence is exactly what the 60's/Baby Boom/NewAge people are trying to avoid.

But that insistence doesn't insure the rest of us are going to join them, but reject them - and, to their amazement, we are.

And I'm proud to be a part of that, in case you haven't noticed. (LOL)

CMC

Anonymous said...

Rev,

As far as I know, only people into duality (like Buddhists) are offended by anybody trying to get something right. It actually counts for a lot in the real world.

The next time you need to go to the doctor, you'll discover why.

CMC

Anonymous said...

As far as I know, only people into duality (like Buddhists) are offended by anybody trying to get something right. It actually counts for a lot in the real world.

----------

Noun 1. duality - being twofold; a classification into two opposed parts or subclasses; "the dichotomy between eastern and western culture"

Here are some more examples of dualities, "Crack":

Good + Evil
Right + Wrong
Up + Down
Black + White

I would venture to say that most people believe in at least some of these dualities, for example "murder is wrong"

So you're not "into" duality, Crack?

You think its all just one big illusion or something?

Groovy, man. I mean, seriously - that's really far out.

Me, I believe in right and wrong, good and evil - call me old fashioned but those are some dualities I guess I just can't get over.

RevRon's Rants said...

"Some people (I won't name any names) are morons."

No need to name names, crack. It's obvious.

"As far as I know, only people into duality (like Buddhists) are offended by anybody trying to get something right."

That would have been one of your most ludicrous statements yet, had it not begun with such an obvious - and pertinent - qualifier. :-)

Cosmic Connie said...

Crack wrote:
"According to Technorati, my blog has almost 10 times the authority of Cosmic Connie's (who I mention because you all know it and we 'work the same side of the street') and that's even though she started before me, writes more of her own stuff (I don't always have the time because I can't type) is supposedly a 'nicer' person, and uses puns as her hook. And, also, most of that change has been in this year alone."

Oh, dear. I've been blogging for the sport of it for over two years now, totally unaware that I was supposed to be working for Technorati "authority." I barely even know what that means. I think it has something to do with the number of sites that link to yours, right?

I do know that I get a lot more participation on my blog than you do, Crack. And that makes blogging worthwhile to me, no matter how much or how little "authority" I have.

The difference between you and me, Crack, is that, as I said, I'm in it mainly for the sport. Occasionally I will offer a serious thought, of course, and I am always considering the possibility that New-Wage/selfish-help stuff is potentially harmful. Even so, I don't delude myself that I can change the world with my pronouncements, and unlike you, I certainly do not delude myself that I alone am right and everyone else is full of crap.

Maybe that's why I have regular participants, whom I consider to be friends or at least allies, instead of Technorati "authority" points.

We may be working the same side of the street, but I am still willing to communicate with people on the "other side," and to reach out to those standing in the middle somewhere. Being a "man of absolutes" is only going to make you lonely, though I suspect you already are. You may get a few folks to feel sorry for you and throw money your way, but you're still not going to have the satisfaction of convincing the majority of people that you are anything but a crackpot.

And that's a shame, because I do think you have, or had, an important message. I also think you are an enormously talented writer -- both of prose and poetry. But all of that is lost when you get into silly battles like the one you've gotten into here.

[Crack also wrote:]
"And finally - where the rubber really meets the road - I'm humbled by the knowledge my blog will be paying a significant portion of my rent this month, insuring I can devote more time to it, and all of it purely from donations."

Well, heck, maybe if I actually solicited donations, rather than occasionally and facetiously suggesting that people send me gobs of money, *I* would get enough from blogging to pay the rent, and more. But you see, I *don't* beg for money. I am trying to earn a living in a legitimate way.

I have no problem with bloggers (such as Chris Locke) who also solicit donations as a SUPPLEMENT to their income. And if you, Crack, are able to continue to convince people to send you money, more power to you.

But it's just not a big priority for me.

Sorry, Steve (and everyone else), I didn't mean to get off-topic here. We were, I think, talking about Sarah Palin and Barack Obama???

Anonymous said...

Awesome, Crack. Glad your amazing blog is doing so well even though you can't type (which does not stop you from sending a missive after missive all over the web).

Yes, we are all NewAge cult-warped liberals here. Got it. You are the only one with clarity and reason and truth. Got it too. For some reason you keep coming back to talk to us NewAge cultists even though you also keep saying that we are too stupid to see the truth. So why are you coming back here? Especially after saying g'bye so many times? Shouldn't you move on to some other more enlightened site where your insight would be more appreciated?

You're just wasting your precious time on us NewAge fools. We are definitely not worthy. Move on, man. It's time.

RevRon's Rants said...

anonymous 9:25 - The clue bus has apparently left the station. We might as well quit trying to sell him a ticket. :-)

RevRon's Rants said...

"It's interesting that the thread that now owns the all-time SHAMblog record for comments--eclipsing the previous high of 160-something--is also the one that has proved so problematic for me."

Steve - Without attempting to influence your findings at all, I would invite you to look back at the previous record-setting posts and ask yourself what elements are common between those posts and this one. Could be material for a post all its own. :-)

Anonymous said...

See, this is the nature of the problem right here: no one can say anything to you people without you taking it the wrong way! I want to say, before I start, that I think every one of these posts I'm answering is wrong-headed and juvenile. (I wish I could swear on this damn thing so you could really feel the brunt of feelings about this. Damn.) Here goes:

Anon 7:52,

Duh. Except there's only one problem with you're amazing insight: it's got nothing to do with the NewAge re-framing of the word, which is what I was alluding to.(Rev's a Buddhist, ask him how they handle evil,...) I swear, you guys weren't so defensive, and keen on picking fights over stuff you don't understand (or stuff you assumed everybody else would accept) or even willing to learn something for some "lesser" being than yourselves, then things would flow a lot easier, on-and-offline.

And, BTW, a lot of blacks feel that way: white people lock out an important knowledge base because they think they know-it-all. It sometimes seems like the only blacks they can attempt to like are either stuck-up cons like Barack or down-on-their-luck drunks with broken "wisdom" to pass on. That's why it's so easy to call you guys idiots: you miss what's important.

Rev,

Sure. My experience of you is as someone who's quite "open-minded". Your first description of those rappers you keep an eye on set the tone between us and you know it. I mean, seriously, I wonder why you have to jump on every conversation I'm in? It can't be because we're such good buds, right? So what does that make you? Trouble. Not very Buddha-like, that.

Connie,

I swear, if you weren't with Rev I wouldn't believe it. (Let me guess: he brought my comments to your attention and - BAM! - I was in for this? Very Buddha-like: the equivalent of a schoolyard bully hitting a kid and then pointing at someone innocent and saying "he did it!")

First off, Connie; I'm not competing with you or whatever you're thinking. I specifically said "I mention [Whirled Musings] because you all know it and we 'work the same side of the street' - nothing more. Why you would take offense has to be for some other reason because, surely, mentioning your site is no crime, is it? Unless, of course, the Buddhist made it into one. If you ask me, that man's "cracked" and nothing but trouble.

"I do know that I get a lot more participation on my blog than you do, Crack. And that makes blogging worthwhile to me, no matter how much or how little 'authority' I have."

Yea? Good for you. I get rabid fans who think it's the first breath of fresh air they've ever found online. I don't post all my letters (because so many "nice" and "compassionate" NewAgers are such vicious attack dogs) but what makes me happy is when I see that someone new has arrived and they'll spend the whole friggin' day on there, looking at every page in one big gulp, gorging and exhausting themselves until, finally, they're sated and able to slow down to a normal pace of day-to-day activity, knowing they're not crazy and somebody understands because, damn it, these stupid people will. not. stop. strangling. our. lives. That's what makes me feel good.

"I don't delude myself that I can change the world with my pronouncements, and unlike you, I certainly do not delude myself that I alone am right and everyone else is full of crap."

Sigh. And you all claim to be such nice people. But, as anon said earlier (and the guy from SWPL) you're really just a bunch of frustrated bigots, waiting for a chance to unload on anyone different. You can't hide it. I'm too much of a favorite. "He's so sure of himself! Our NewAge outlook has got to bring that black man down a peg!" Right? Can't have 'em too proud. It's the mantra of losers.

"We may be working the same side of the street, but I am still willing to communicate with people on the "other side," and to reach out to those standing in the middle somewhere."

That's called hypocrisy. You call 'em con men and criminals and yet still want to party? If they'd somebody, as I suffered, would you feel the same way? I doubt it. Connie, why are you here doing this? Did I start a fight with you or you with me? Or did Rev start this, as I suspect? I'm confused.

"Being a "man of absolutes" is only going to make you lonely, though I suspect you already are."

You know nothing about me. I live in a nice apartment, with a (truly) nice roommate who's into martial arts and sword fighting. We talk about everything and, though I had a (physically) gorgeous girlfriend, I got rid of her for eventually revealing herself to be the type of feminist harpie that's now attacking Sarah Palin. I just said, real calm like: "I think it's time for you to go." She couldn't believe it. I was probably the first man to ever say that to her (She looks like Sade). I don't need most people, C: they're stupid. Like the job I just lost because a lady was sexually harassing me. Sure. I'm lonely? In your dreams. I've told the SHAMblog crew before: I'm not full of fear, or lonely: I'm disgusted. And your reliance on your (always wrong) assumptions is one reason why.

"You may get a few folks to feel sorry for you and throw money your way, but you're still not going to have the satisfaction of convincing the majority of people that you are anything but a crackpot."

My, my - another stupid (and wrong) assumption. How do you people live? Oh yea, I forgot: you prop each other up in business, and keep everyone else out, but never call that a form of totalitarianism. Ask most blacks who want work: there's no room at the inn. Not because they can't do the job but because Rev has "issues." Which doesn't seem to be a problem for Republicans, who are still evil, because none of the blacks are African [hyphen] Americans and none of the women are "womyn". I swear, it's a hell of a thing.

And, really, people donate to my site because they feel sorry for me? Prove it. I recently got offered a book deal (Steve?) was that because someone felt sorry for me? Or was it because they read one of my posts, which zipped around the internet, and they thought I could write (a talent I didn't even know I possessed)? What? Is "Cosmic Connie" doing psychic readings now?

"I do think you have, or had, an important message."

Just not enough that anyone else would think the same, right? No, only you and Rev are the arbiters of my worth and fate. Man, what would blacks do without decent folk like you?

"All of that is lost when you get into silly battles like the one you've gotten into here."

I ask again: why are you here, Connie, picking on me? What did I do to you? Nothing, as far as I can tell. I mentioned your site. That's all.

"Maybe if I actually solicited donations, rather than occasionally and facetiously suggesting that people send me gobs of money, *I* would get enough from blogging to pay the rent, and more. But you see, I *don't* beg for money. I am trying to earn a living in a legitimate way."

Wow. I didn't know putting a banner below below my posts, saying "Make a donation" wasn't legit. Please, enlighten me to how I'm doing something wrong - or that you should be looking down on me. I'm intrigued.

"I have no problem with bloggers (such as Chris Locke) who also solicit donations as a SUPPLEMENT to their income. And if you, Crack, are able to continue to convince people to send you money, more power to you."

Funny you should say that because - wonder of wonders - it was because I saw Chris did it (for books) that I thought I'd try - and it worked! And why must one only shoot for a "SUPPLEMENT to their income"? Is it a crime to blog for money? Again: I'm intrigued. Your sense of morality here is a funny thing to me. I seem to have done something very wrong but, for the life of me, I can't figure out what is is. Oh yea: I mentioned your site. Believe me, I will NOT be doing that again.

"Sorry, Steve (and everyone else), I didn't mean to get off-topic here. We were, I think, talking about Sarah Palin and Barack Obama???"

Ditto. Yea, we were discussing the poser at the top of the Democratic ticket - the one with no qualifications - and the Republican Governor of the biggest state in the country.

Please: carry on.

CMC

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:25,

I wrote to Steve. The rest of you jumped in (Why? I don't know!)

Your bad.

CMC

P.S.

That is the NewAge answer to everything, though, isn't it? You're just gonna wash all the "bad people" away,...

In your dreams.

Anonymous said...

"You're just wasting your precious time on us NewAge fools. We are definitely not worthy. Move on, man. It's time."

Amen Anon 9:25! I never considered myself a New Age type, but I would gladly sign up if Crack will have nothing to do with them.

I think making the comment about Connie's blog was mean and underhanded. Connie has always tried to reach out to Crack, even when I thought it was pointless. The real Crack is starting to surface and he speaks of "throwing people under the bus." He just did it.

As far as reading his blog, which I have never felt the need or desire to do, people watch car accidents every day. It does not mean much. If Crack is using his blog for donations, that is even sadder.

I use to feel sorry for Crack. He reminded me of this mentally disabled boy who went to the school next door to mine. The older kids from my school used to get him to steal from the corner store. A group of kids tried to help the mentally disabled boy realize he was being used, but the disabled boy would never listen. He finally got in trouble and the older kids just laughed at him.

I know Crack does not understand analogies so I will explain that one: I am not saying Crack is mentally disabled. I am saying he is being used. Obviously, he wants to be.

All I have seen of Crack's posts are regurgiations of other people's opinions. I have yet to read anything that Crack has thought of himself. He does not seem to be capable of independent thinking.

In any event, I rather be a New Ager than be where Crack is obviously at. Who needs a bully in the playground?

ellen said...

I would dearly love to respond to Crack but when I review his posts I am unable to figure out what his point is, other than to desperately insist that he is a winner and everyone else is a New Age loser.
So, I'm with you Anon 9:25, I concede the point, I'm owning up to being a closet Secretron, a White People That Likes Stuff, a wishy washy liberal, an Obamabot---you name it, Crack, I'll be it.

I've heard your message and I am saved, mercy, I am saved. Your job here is done and your wisdom and compassion is needed, oh so sorely needed, to root out other nests of New Age cultism, to skewer them with your intellect and finely honed debating skills, to bring them back to the one true path.
Go, though I weep to see you go, others need you more than I now, give the world the glory of your message.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 9:25, what Crack does is called "trolling."

""Troll," in the context of message boards and the like, describes somebody who is posting just to be confrontational or to raise hackles.

*****

Trolling, to those who don't spend all their time in front of the computer, is a method of fishing where you trail bait through the water from a slow-moving boat hoping to hook an unwary fish. An online troll does much the same.

*****

As the Free Online Dictionary of Computing (http://foldoc.doc.ic.ac.uk/foldoc/foldoc.c gi?troll) notes, "Trolling aims to elicit an emotional reaction from those with a hair-trigger on the reply key. A really subtle troll makes some people lose their minds."

"Troll" is often flung about too casually. If somebody is simply ignorant or obtuse, it's incorrect to call him a troll. Admittedly, it's not always easy to distinguish between someone pretending to be wrong and someone who is wrong and doesn't know it or won't admit it.

How does one deal with trolls? That depends on your personality, the overall disposition of the message board, and the type of message board you're using.

*****

In short, you've got two possibilities--ignore the troll or argue with him. My recommendation is as follows: If the person is a well-known troll with low credibility, post once to point out the flaws and then ignore him."

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1764/what-is-a-troll

RevRon's Rants said...

I want to thank crack for providing some good entertainment on this fine Sunday morning. The intellectual stimulation factor might have left the building along with Elvis, but the amusement factor is off the charts... kinda like a car wreck, but without the blood. :-)

And Connie, I'll be sure and dictate an appropriate response for you to submit, as always. :-)

Love,
That evil old Machiavellian Buddhist Cultmeister, me

Now... where did I put my violin???

RevRon's Rants said...

"Your first description of those rappers you keep an eye on set the tone between us and you know it."

Agreed. I said I didn't find rap aesthetically pleasing, and you took it personally. Insisted my real problem was ignorance, inherent evil, closed-mindedness, Buddhism, and bigotry. Your responses to my posts have been defensive and angry ever since.

"I get rabid fans who think it's the first breath of fresh air they've ever found online. I don't post all my letters (because so many "nice" and "compassionate" NewAgers are such vicious attack dogs)"

Uh huh... I'd concede that if you do have "fans," rabid would be an accurate description. However, I'd guess that "imaginary" would be more accurate, since their comments don't make it to the blog.

"I seem to have done something very wrong but, for the life of me, I can't figure out what is is... I'm confused."

In a nutshell...

The Crack Emcee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steve Salerno said...

Much as part of me would like to have a post that crossed the coveted 200-comment threshold, I'm afraid I have to ring down the curtain on this one, as the debate has now grown so personal--and so venomously so--that I find myself having to kill every other comment. I refer those of you who still care about the core topic here (remember that?) to read my newest post, of today, and to respond to it (i.e. as opposed to simply trying to defeat one another in rhetorical battle).

Let me be clear about something else: If anyone submits anything to SHAMblog that strikes me as a veiled form of personal intimidation, especially if it includes an implied physical threat, that person will be banned from the board permanently--that falls in the category of "duh"--but more importantly, I reserve the right to take appropriate steps with law-enforcement authorities. Cyber-stalking is a federal crime, and the issuance of "terroristic threats" is aggressively pursued in most municipalities these days.

It boggles my mind that we can't discuss these things without having it come to that. And it's on both sides, folks.