Monday, October 13, 2008

I have an honest question for you, John.

Apropos of all the gratuitous and truly despicable hate-mongering that McCain and Palin have employed in lieu of a coherent political platform of late: Were I Barack Obama, at some point early in Wednesday's debate, I think I might ask John McCain, without a trace of sarcasm or rancor, but with all the human sincerity I could muster in the moment: "John, just tell me thisnot politician to politician, but man to man, father to father: Are you so determined to win the White House in this final presidential campaign of yours that you would actually have me die in order to make it happen?"

I'd really like to hear McCain's response. I'd hope the answer would be
no. But increasingly in my heart I worry that the factual answer is yes.

57 comments:

RevRon's Rants said...

Steve, of course McCain is too "honorable" a man to ever do such a thing, as evidenced by his recent calls for civility and respect. And he naturally has no control over what his VP pick, campaign manager, publicists, and assorted spokespeople do.

It simply amazes me that his cheerleaders are either incapable of seeing the hypocrisy in play here, or are so devoted to McCain's highly unlikely victory that they accept even the most despicable behavior in pursuit of that goal. (Well, it does make sense for one or two we've heard from!) If such people did turn out to represent the majority in this country, I'd be damn tempted to accept a client/friend's invitations to become an expat on Roatan!

Anonymous said...

Hate mongering has been an often-used tool of the democrats. There has been non-stop Bush hating for the past eight years. And Sarah Palin has been clubbed with the hate stick ever since she popped up on the radar screen.

Your question is anything but "honest".

Steve, you'll get more readers when you come out of the sewer.

Anonymous said...

Hillary Clinton brought up the whole notion of "assination" when she refused to initially concede the nomination to Obama.

I guess the race card is so worn out now from overuse that the assination card has to be played.

Pathetic.

Obama can't close the deal with the voters. His lead is narrowing again. His "true believers" are getting more shrill.

Steve Salerno said...

The sewer? How is it the "sewer" to worry about assassination or whipping up murderous rage--which is a realistic concern given the history of hatred in this nation, Obama's unique standing as a candidate, and other factors?

"Hatred" of Bush rose quite naturally from the man's own conduct, I would think. (I was a "solid Bush guy" as recently as 2003 or so. But I now believe that an equally solid case can be made for capital punishment, if the various charges against Bush are ever proved.) What has Obama done to merit such contempt? Other than the fact that he's (a) half-black and (b) ahead in the polls?

And finally...we're getting shrill? McCain and Palin launch the kinds of odious personal attacks that they've made...and we're shrill?

RevRon's Rants said...

I dunno about anyone else, but I have no problem "bashing" someone who does harm to the country. I have no harm "bashing" someone who sends 4,000 Americans (and over 100,000 Iraqis) to their deaths over a lie. I have no problem "bashing" someone who could likely assume the position of the presidency when she has absolutely no qualifications for the role. And I have no problem "bashing" someone who tries to defeat an opponent with hate-speech when she can't sell voters on the issues. And I especially have no problem "bashing" someone who presents himself as a hero and patriot, yet whose actions are cowardly and destructive to the country he professes to love.

As I said on my own blog, I once respected McCain. Then I learned that there's little similarity between the man and the image he has created for himself.

If he were the virtuous leader he tries to make himself out to be, he would publicly rein Palin and his other people in when they fan the flames of hatred. If he won't do that, he doesn't deserve the presidency. If he *can't* rein his own organization in, he could never effectively lead this nation, no matter how many times he says "maverick," or "reach across the aisle."

RevRon's Rants said...

BTW - To anonymous 2:20 - In your discussion of "assination" (sic), you seem to have lost an ass. Kinda prophetic, given the way the polls are changing. :-)

Sorry... couldn't help myself! :-)

RevRon's Rants said...

"Hate mongering has been an often-used tool of the democrats. There has been non-stop Bush hating for the past eight years."

Guess you weren't around during the Clinton administration, eh?

Stever Robbins said...

An incredibly important part of being President is being a leader. That means influencing the culture of which you're part.

If McCain can't set a tone of civility within his campaign, either he doesn't want to and is lying or he wants to and isn't able.

If he's lying, I don't want him in the White House.

If he simply can't set the tone in his campaign, then I don't believe he can set a tone in the country at large that will lead us to overcome our big, pressing problems.

Is there a third alternative--other than lying or inability to lead--that I'm not seeing?

Steve Salerno said...

Stever: Careful now, you're getting close to making McCain's argument for him. Because clearly the reason Obama's "not ready to lead" is that he's insufficiently vile and has too many scruples.

Elizabeth said...

A bit of comic relief (or is it...)

Friends don't let friends vote for someone who calls everyone “my friends.”

http://tinyurl.com/dv9b

On a more serious note, Christopher Hitchens has endorsed Obama/Biden (which, for those who follow Hitchens and his various political (mis)adventures, is a big and surprising deal). What's more important, IMO, is how scathing and on point is his (better-late-than-never) critique of McCain and Palin:

http://www.slate.com/id/2202163/

Anonymous said...

The current Esquire endorses Obama and does a great story on why. Pretty much for the same reasons a lot of people have been turned off by McCain. We don't really know McCain and maybe we never did.

Steve Salerno said...

I'll tell you, though: The more I hear about the media savaging McCain (and we've seen it now from Esquire, Rolling Stone, several articles in Slate, the tenor of the daily coverage from the New York Times, etc.), the more I wonder how much of the criticism is the product of an honest research effort wherein the writers were determined to give a fair rendering to the facts they uncovered...and how much is based on an ax that they were determined to grind, going in. Now, I'm not saying the info on McCain isn't there for the finding; not at all. Clearly there's plenty of dirt, or at least room for doubt. I'm just asking whether the journalists, and the publications for which they write, weren't determined to do a hatchet job on McCain regardless. And despite my own advocacy of Obama, that bothers me.

It's like last week, my local paper carried the news of McCain's allegations about Obama's relationship with Ayers, described in a very straightforward reportorial tone...and then midway through the piece there was this paragraph-long editorial about how inappropriate and, really, absurd such allegations seemed "to many Americans" at a time when the economy is going to hell in a hand-basket, especially when we're dealing with crimes that occurred 30 years ago. That paragraph shouldn't have been there. And the fact that it was there told me that the journalist had a dog in this race; he couldn't simply report the news and leave it at that. He had to "put it in perspective."

RevRon's Rants said...

Axes to grind, Steve? Sure. But you gotta admit, when a candidate provides the whetstone and virtually dares anyone to use it, he'd better be sure there are no skeletons in his closet awaiting liberation. It becomes especially pertinent when a candidate tries to sell himself as an example of virtue. He's daring the press to find the vices, and as we know, they're more than willing to oblige.

Furthermore, given the current state of affairs in this country and throughout the world, isn't it the media's job to point out when a candidate skirts issues by obsessing on irrelevant bits of gossip and innuendo? If you think that the public is intelligent enough to discern between the two on your own, you obviously missed the last 2 national elections.

And yeah... I admit having an axe to grind, which I've detailed in previous comments. I don't like the snide comments and personal slurs launched against either candidate, but I'm more sympathetic toward one who strives to keep above the fray. And especially toward the one who's not so eager to keep killing people (and getting his own countrymen killed).

Steve Salerno said...

Ron, I think you know by now that I agree with you on all points about McCain. But I also think we need to be very careful about giving the media license to "interpret" the news for us--especially when this is being done under the guise of "presenting the news." News, to me, is simply "what happened yesterday." Even if McCain goes out today and says, "Barack Obama's policies will cause the death of all American children under age 6," it is not the media's job to ascertain the truth or falsity of that statement. Just report it. Because truth is often a subjective matter. Is it true or false that Obama's association with Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright makes him less fit to run America? I think it's false. I'm sure there is someone else who genuinely thinks it's true. That someone else shouldn't be a journalist shaping a story on the day's campaign events. That's why I was glad when MSNBC yanked Olbermann and Matthews off its GOP Convention coverage. Hannity shouldn't have been there either (if only because there should be minimum intelligence requirements).

This doesn't mean there isn't a place in media for analysis; of course there is. Just not on the 6 o'clock news, or on the front page of the newspaper.

Anonymous said...

Given that we are all biased, (conditioned from bith and by our subsequent experiences, sought and unsought) and cannot, due to our limited thinking abilities--can only entertain one thought at a time--- I think we have to make use of what is available.

If I know my own biases sufficiently well, I can test their current validity by immersing myself in the thought of a person who has well thought-out opposing biases.

I don't generally read liberal type blogs or newspapers, I take great interest in the intelligent presentation of conservative viewpoints. I am naturally liberal, to keep from getting too soft that has to be constantly challenged. I like Robert Ringers blog--he's a smart man, I like that. He's also an ardent Ayn Rander which I find abhorrent, and a virulent laissez-faire capitalist. He comes up with some good ideas, nevertheless.
Reading him and others of his ilk provides a good challenge to my own ideas and ensures that they never become fixed.

I will shamelessly steal a good, usable, pertinent idea no matter which shady character originally presents it.

Why should the devil have all the good tunes?

Anonymous said...

An addendum,

Ideas are free, they are also essentially neutral. They carry no taint because they are sometimes held by unsavourary types.

Anonymous said...

"Ideas are free, they are also essentially neutral. They carry no taint because they are sometimes held by unsavourary types."

An idea is not neutral if it generates hatred.

My grandparents ended up dead at the hands of the Nazis because enough nice people held to ideas that reduced Jews, gypsies and homosexuals to the level of subhumanity.

And the doctors who participated in the experimentation in Nazi concentration camps and who helped devise Gestapo torture methods were not 'unsavory types.' They considered themselves and actually were, devoted family men. They used the supposedly neutral ideas of Nazi ideology to dehumanize their victims and split themselves into two--torturer at work, and loving father and husband at home.

Robert J. Lifton calls this process 'doubling'.

It may be the process by which a man could be a professor and good father, yet assist the US government by writing legal documents justifying torture.

All one needs to do first is dehumanize someone.

And that is an idea that can be held by the most respectable men, and by respectable women--and lead us into a state of social degradation that is anything but neutral.

Anonymous said...

My first para, 6.54, written on the run, reads a bit Palinesque,

and cannot, due to our limited thinking abilities--can only entertain one thought at a time--- I think we have to make use of what is available.

What's actually on the autocue is:

and cannot, due to our limited thinking abilities--can only entertain one thought at a time--- avoid some degree of bias; I think we have to make use of what is available.

RevRon's Rants said...

"On a more serious note, Christopher Hitchens has endorsed Obama/Biden...

Almost missed the significance of this one, Eliz. I know one person who idolizes Hitchens as much as he hates Obama... bet this has the veins in his head popping out. :-)

Steve Salerno said...

Anon 9:04: I disagree with you vehemently. While, naturally, most of us would like to see a world of goodness and honor and mutual understanding, the notion of moral inherency--that certain ideas are simply "right" while others are "wrong"--as a practical matter, is the basis for most of the suffering on earth. Because, in the end, who gets to make those calls? You? Me? Bin Laden? Charlie Manson? And this is much trickier terrain than you would think at first glance. Menachim Begin, for example, justified his early years--when he was clearly involved in what must be regarded as terrorism--by claiming that they were "defensive acts," as part of "fighting back against an oppressor." So if we can justify terrorism--when it serves our purposes, or purposes that we support--then how do we suddenly reverse our field when it becomes an instrument used against us?

Anonymous said...

For me, one of Ringer's plus points as a commentator is that he is happy to be quite cheerily offensive about anyone and everyone. He has no sacred cows except Ayn Rand who, mercifully, is seldom mentioned.
His blog is email only but I have appended an interesting recent take:

October 11, 2008





The Great Bailout Stall, Part V



By Robert Ringer



Back in the late seventies and early eighties, they called people like me doom-and-gloom prophets. So, how does it feel for me to see my predications coming true? Lousy. As I've always told my children, "I don't want to have to say 'I told you so.' I want to help you."

Never once did I joyfully picture telling the world "I told you so." I was focused only on sounding the alarm to help save the American Empire from total destruction. With the exception of the late Tom Snyder (and a handful of others whose names now escape me), most of the mainstream media either ignored my warnings (first choice) or waved me aside (second choice). And for a while, the majority of people may have believed the media were right.

Those of us who tried to explain why the welfare state must ultimately collapse under its own weight (both moral and mathematical) did, indeed, look like "doomsayers" as Ronald Reagan came to power and waxed poetically about "a shining city on a hill." Sorry, folks, but it was all window dressing.

Though I personally liked Reagan, and still believe that he meant well (meaning that he favored a free society over Marxism), the record clearly shows that, overall, many of his "social policies" continued to move America to the left. This is especially true of his last couple of years in office, when Alzheimer's was starting to set in and, perhaps, his advisors were making more and more of the major (anti-liberty) decisions.

Now, fast-forward to George W. Bush, supposedly the most conservative president since Reagan. Bush is that fellow you see a lot on television lately, assuring us that the "rescue plan" will "help make our economy strong once again." He's the same shameless guy who not that many months ago was hyping another "economic stimulus plan" - printing up more money and sending taxpayers $300-$1,200 checks.

And stimulate it did. By my calculations, it took most recipients of this "free money" about three days, four hours, and seventeen minutes to rush out to Best Buy and Circuit City to gobble up a few more electronic toys. Idiotic and suicidal, to be sure, but when someone needs a shot of morphine to kill the pain, it would be cruel not to give it to him, right?

Okay, let's get real here. Now that everyone with an IQ over 23 knows that the bailout ... er, rescue plan ... is an outrageous scam, what's next? Answer: More of the same. Again, there can be only two endings to this modern American version of a Greek tragedy:

An instant, painful deflationary depression - far worse, in many ways, than the Great Depression of the thirties, or ...


A runaway inflation that would virtually assure the rise of a dictatorship to "restore order" to a society overrun by anarchy.


As Voice of Sanity readers know, I've talked at length about putting an end to all government programs that are not related to the protection of people's lives and property. No government bank or corporate bailouts, no unemployment benefits, no welfare of any kind ... and, above all, a fifty-year phase-out of the Social Security and Medicare pyramid schemes.

What drives people to vote for politicians who arrogantly and/or ignorantly pass legislation that makes those voters much worse off in the long run? By now, I think you know the answer: GAVEC (guiltism, angerism, villainism, envyism, covetism).

I am a person who believes in examining premises when it comes to arriving at solutions. And one of the most important underlying premises in this case is best expressed by the populist phrase "the growing gap between the rich and the poor." I have never heard anyone - not politicians, not media pundits, not their guests - challenge the underlying premise of this highly emotive phrase. Not once.

So, masochist that I am, I've decided to be the one to step up to the plate: When politicians and the media use the phrase "the growing gap between the rich and the poor," the underlying premise is that there is something inherently wrong or immoral about such a gap. I hereby unequivocally challenge that premise.

Let us, for the moment, ignore the question of who has the wisdom and moral authority to decide who is rich and who is poor. To make things easy, I will go along with pretending as though we all agree on the definitions of both rich and poor.

To further simplify things, let's boil it down to just two people. If one person had the skills, the intelligence, the knowledge, the work ethic, etc., to become far richer than another person, why in the world would he not continue to pull ahead of the person who lacks his skills, intelligence, knowledge, work ethic, etc.? Of course the disparity between the two is going to grow!

There's nothing "wrong" with that. It's simply a reality. But, guess what? The "rich" person's success does not in any way prevent the "poor" person from improving his lot in life if he should make up his mind to do so.

This is where the great euphemism for Marxism - pieism - enters the picture. When a Mad Mama McBama blathers about people giving up some of their pie so she and her Marxist cronies can give it to others of their choice, her words are based on the premise that the size of the pie is fixed. That premise has been so embarrassingly shattered by historic reality that I shall not even waste time on it here.

Today, the so-called poor are living better than their parents and grandparents could have ever imagined just forty or fifty years ago. And that's a good thing. I like the idea of everyone being better off, don't you? And if everyone would just concentrate on his or her own well-being and ignore "the gap between rich and poor," we'd all be much happier and politicians would be stripped of their most precious vote-getting ploy. I could care less about the wealth of a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffet.

All this may seem like a diversion from the recent government bailouts (and those to follow), but it is, in fact, the underlying reason why we got to where we are today. The class warfare game is the main reason why virtually all members of the Demopublican Party - including the current president and both presidential candidates - are able to get away with outrageous actions such as bailing out Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, major corporations, and homeowners who shouldn't have been given mortgage loans in the first place.

While America is crashing to the ground, they simply point their fingers in the direction of those "greedy" guys on Wall Street, "greedy" speculators, and "greedy" CEOs who made off with millions in golden parachutes. I can just hear Dodd, Frank, Reid, Schumer, & Company saying, behind closed doors, "It's the gap, stupid. Remember, it's the gap." The Fuhrer himself would have been downright proud of these guys and their incredible chutzpah, for it is he who said, "What good fortune for government that the people do not think."

In Part VI of this article, we'll zero in on those greedy guys mentioned above and try to decide whether the time has come to bring out the tar and feathers or to simply shackle them with more government regulation - as both B. and J. McBama have suggested. If today's installment offended you, I can almost guarantee that you're going to hate Part VI.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.04

The ideas *are* always neutral, it's the uses to which they are put, and the character/intention of the user that can and does vary enormously.

Analogy :
A gun is a lethal weapon but essentially neutral--fired by a criminal at a bystander it is a bad thing, fired by a cop/soldier in your defence it is a good thing.

A car is a means of transportation when used wisely and responsibly--driven by a drunk it is as much a lethal weapon as the gun.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon (who is not really Anon) 10:10: I don't think you can even make that case about guns. A 1970s black revolutionary would argue that a gun being fired by a cop is bad, and a gun being fired into the head of a cop is good, since the latter represents striking a blow for justice.

I'm always vaguely tickled when people make the case for neutrality and objectivity...then back it up with an example wherein they're clearly imposing their own subjective lens on life.

Anonymous said...

Menachim Begin, for example, justified his early years--when he was clearly involved in what must be regarded as terrorism--by claiming that they were "defensive acts," as part of "fighting back against an oppressor."

There is a deeply ingrained myth amongst the British that Britain magnaminously handed her Empire back to the foreign subjects who originally were the sovereign owners of their territories. Complete balderdash. Power is never willingly surrendered, it is taken, as Begin, Lee Kuan Yew, Idi Amin and Gerry Adams will attest.

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

Governments always take the high moral ground of 'no negotiation with terrorists' while frantically looking for any excuse to do exactly that. There were considerable attempts to negotiate with Hitler throughout WW2. We are the fools for believing this twaddle.

RevRon's Rants said...

Anon 10:01 - The Achilles heel in your argument is the fact that Social Darwinism is inherently short-lived. When the powerful have rendered the majority of the population sufficiently powerless, the majority exercises the only power left to it: violent revolution.

Extending the logic you propose, it would follow that law enforcement be abolished. If I see someone who seems to have more possessions than me, and I am able to defeat him (or her), there should be no governmental mechanism to prevent me from doing just that.

While we're at it, we'd have to abolish any form of governmental regulations imposed on the makers and marketers of consumer products. If a drug company decided to market hemlock as a fool-proof cure for cancer, and consumers were uneducated enough to believe the company's claims, those consumers would deserve to die, and the drug company would deserve to keep all its profits, without bearing any responsibility for the deaths of its customers.

While these examples are extreme, they are consistent with the concept of governmental regulations preventing credit agencies from charging exorbitant interest rates, delaying the posting of customer payments until the due date has passed, and then raising their interest rates and charging them penalties. Far too many people have seen their credit ruined - and thus, lost their ability to buy homes, cars, and insurance, or to even get a good job. Yet the Social Darwinist would claim that they deserved their fate. Such an attitude is not only morally repugnant, it is doomed to failure.

Anonymous said...

Anon is now my official name, changed by deed poll.

'wherein they're clearly imposing their own subjective lens on life'

Of course its my own subjective lens, I attempt honesty, I cannot do other than have a subjective viewpoint. I don't see that this negates my argument as I also accept that the viewpoint of the 70's black revolutionary is also subjective. We are not discussing right or wrong here, we're discussing viewpoints and it is confusing and occluding to conflate the two.

I would travel anywhere to meet the man or woman who claims to hold objective rather than subjective views.

I can attempt to take an objective view of any matter but I cannot eradicate my deep subjective biases.

Steve Salerno said...

We have found agreement, Enon.

RevRon's Rants said...

Steve - I think we get into trouble when we try to assign values to inanimate objects, rather than behaviors. Regardless of the intended use of an object, it does not bear traits definable as good or evil until it is put to use.

An extreme example is a nuclear device. Despite the fact that its primary purpose is generally accepted to be destruction, evil only arises from its use toward that end, not its existence. The device could just as easily be utilized to provide near-light speed propulsion, carrying humanity to worlds heretofore unimagined.

A more easily understood example would be a simple spoon. It can be used to feed a starving child, or as the tool by which individuals gorge themselves to the point of morbid obesity. The spoon is merely a tool, and shouldn't be given credit for alleviating starvation any more than for causing obesity.

It has been repeatedly proven that laws that attempt to deify or demonize inanimate objects are doomed to failure (prohibition, war on drugs, and even the banning of firearms). Our energies would be better spent addressing the *behavior* of individual miscreants, rather than attempting to eliminate every tool they might utilize in their nefarious acts.

Steve Salerno said...

One is reminded of the famous bumper sticker:

Ted Kennedy has killed more people with his car than I've killed with my gun.

Anonymous said...

Revron,

You miss the point that those arguments are Ringer's--I do not endorse his conclusions--which you read rightly,I think, as Social Darwinism.
Ringer is smart and wily enough to defend himself. He presents a coherent and well-thought out case. It is not necessary for me to buy his conclusion in order to benefit from his method or some of his ideas. In particular he is spot on with what motivates people to vote for a canidates' promises, namely crass self-interest:

'What drives people to vote for politicians who arrogantly and/or ignorantly pass legislation that makes those voters much worse off in the long run? By now, I think you know the answer: GAVEC (guiltism, angerism, villainism, envyism, covetism).'

Blair Warren comes to the same conclusion with his one sentence persuasion:
'People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures,
allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their
enemies.'

Because I find both these statements true does not mean that I morph into a clone of Ringer or Warren.
I am still that same pesky anon but now I have a few more *neutral* ideas to consider. I always strip my ideas of guilt by association before they gain foothold in my head.

Anonymous said...

With regard to deep subjective bias and honesty, I'd have to own up to my most fundamental bias which is my own survival.

Unlike McCain, I would not battle to the death, my own or that of my opponent, for anything except my own physical survival.
It is my deepest value and loyalty, everything else pales in comparison.
For me this is the bedrock of sanity.

RevRon's Rants said...

anon 11:19 - "You miss the point that those arguments are Ringer's--I do not endorse his conclusions"

I guess I missed your refutation of Ringer's arguments, leading me to believe you endorsed them. Mea Culpa.

Anonymous said...

I'm wading through a month's email backlog and came across another offensive Ringer gem, this one on more government fiscal legislation--it's worth the fun factor if nothing else:

'Perhaps we should have a policy in this country similar to one that legend tells us existed in ancient Greece. Anyone who proposed a new law had to do so from a platform in the public market - with a rope around his neck. If the law was adopted by the people, they removed the rope. If it was rejected, they removed the platform.'

RevRon's Rants said...

"I would not battle to the death, my own or that of my opponent, for anything except my own physical survival."

Then by all means, never enlist in the military, have a family, or even close friends. Of course, this is a 2-edged sword. If someone more powerful than yourself chose to do you harm, you would have no legitimate right to expect anyone to come to your defense.

While I have never condoned waging war for ideological reasons, I do believe we have a responsibility to band together in support of our allies, and to do our part to eliminate mass murder wherever it occurs. By the same token, we abdicate any moral authority when we are the ones who provide the tools for mass murderers, as we did in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

'I guess I missed your refutation of Ringer's arguments, leading me to believe you endorsed them.'

If I am honest Revron, other peoples beliefs are of very little interest to me. Someone thousands of miles away down a fibre optic cable is pretty remote. I am not a particularly caring person in that sense.

I do take note of the beliefs of those I have daily contact with in order to not unecessarily cause offense--unless of course I wish to cause offense.

My main business is keeping my own beliefs in order, examining and refining or rejecting them constantly. Selfish maybe, but enough work, usually, to keep me occupied without worrying about other peoples beliefs except in a very superficial way.

Anonymous said...

'you would have no legitimate right to expect anyone to come to your defense.'

I don't expect anyone to come to my defense.
Experience teaches me that that is a rare happening. It is brilliant when it happens, most of my dearest friendships started that way, but I certainly don't ever expect it.

I am also a fervid supporter of our squaddies wherever they are soldiering-- but I refute roundly that they are doing it in my name. My taxes pay for these jaunts but I have no say at all in the validity of the premise for jaunting in the first place.

Life is tough and complex.

RevRon's Rants said...

"If the law was adopted by the people, they removed the rope. If it was rejected, they removed the platform."

Perhaps a variation on the theme: When a legislator proposes a law, financial plan, etc., his or her own well-being becomes tied to the success of the legislation. If it makes people's lives better, s/he is granted similar benefits. If the legislation harms people, the legislator suffers similar harm. For example, if a "rework" of social security causes benefits to decrease, the legislator loses their pension and is enrolled in social security. Same for health care.

On second thought, let's take away their pension & health plans anyway, and put them on SS & Medicare. How long do you think it would take before both programs were really "fixed?" :-)

Elizabeth said...

Almost missed the significance of this one, Eliz. I know one person who idolizes Hitchens as much as he hates Obama... bet this has the veins in his head popping out. :-)

Yes, Rev, this is a huge surprise to all rabid right-wing fans of Hitchens. After months of harping on Obama and defending McPalin in every unimaginable way, he's done this U-turn here. (The man has a conscience, after all.:) Even his BFF, Billy Kristol, is criticizing McPalin now -- after defending indefensible all this time. So what's next, Kristol for Obama...? LOL. I see veins popping all over the place.

On a related note (i.e. veins popping), Steve, you just may get your wish (sort of), since McCain vows to bring up Ayers in tomorrow's debate.

Anonymous said...

Revron,
This was a tongue in cheek suggestion from Ringer. I still feel no compunction to defend him--in fact I'm pretty sure he would consider such an impulse patronising in the extreme, as would I in similar circumstances--but it is an amusing idea.

The ancient Greeks were quite a tough and uncompromising bunch by all accounts, when Socrates was sentenced to death he didn't appeal or whine but just accepted his hemlock. He lived and died by Athenian law.

Elizabeth said...

Okay, I've never had any illusions about McCain, so can't say his ugly campaign surprises me. It's all part and parcel of his character.

But this (below) does surprise me. It shows, to me, that McCain's judgment is worse than I/we have known it to be (if that's possible), and/or he harbors a suicide wish. Or that he has lost his mind altogether.

McCain Transition Chief Aided Saddam In Lobbying Effort

http://tinyurl.com/4qg2u7

RevRon's Rants said...

"If I am honest Revron, other peoples beliefs are of very little interest to me. Someone thousands of miles away down a fibre optic cable is pretty remote. I am not a particularly caring person in that sense."

And yet, here you are, sharing and defending your beliefs, just like those of us who admit having an interest in others' beliefs. Interesting...

RevRon's Rants said...

"I don't expect anyone to come to my defense.
Experience teaches me that that is a rare happening."

And my experience has shown me that it is far from rare. My friends would be there for me, no matter the cost to them. Perhaps it's because they know I'll be there for them. Our own actions determine the nature of our friendships.

Anonymous said...

Revron,
'never enlist in the military'

I did once seriously consider a military career and believe I could have been good at it but since I have had a lifetimes mega- problem with accepting authourity, eventually reconsidered.

I have at times trained with various military outfits and can accept a time-limited temporary authority for a specific purpose.

I have only once in my life given that kind of unlimited power to another person. I found that one instance rewarding beyond my expectations but would never repeat the experience with anyone else.

I find the notion of handing my destiny to anyone else to be farcical, if I am in trouble I want to know that it is my responsibilty to get myself out, not spend my time and energy apportioning blame for my situation to others.

Anonymous said...

“But I also think we need to be very careful about giving the media license to ‘interpret’ the news for us--especially when this is being done under the guise of ‘presenting the news.’”

I thought of you, Steve, this past weekend when I attended a college journalism conference. Let me state, I am not a journalist, even though I get mistaken for one as a writer. All writers are not journalists and not all journalists are writers.

Basically the keynote address dealt with this idea of news being like “Starbucks.” People want “their” type of news. Basically it is not news, but communities of people hearing what they want to hear. Letting people find the media that agrees with them.

I was very chilled by that conference.

Steve Salerno said...

Anon 4:04: Yes. This whole notion of "designer news"--whereby news is a commodity, like women's dresses, and it's tailored to taste, such that the consumer simply picks the outlet (MSNBC or FOX, the Journal or the New York Times) that fits his or her politics--is very, very troubling. And yet the sort of news I envision, which is simply presented without embellishment, completely devoid of any feeling or interpretive flavor, has no way of succeeding, I think, amid today's marketing imperatives.

Steve Salerno said...

And to the Anon who declares that "other people's beliefs are of very little interest": I am very open to all forms of participation on this blog. But I did not envision SHAMblog as a sort of "host blog" for other people to squat and pontificate, especially in cases where--by their own admission--they have "very little interest" in what others might say or believe. What a pompous and dismissive thing to say in a forum like this.

If that is really the case, Anon, by all means, start your own blog. Then the only person you need to engage with is yourself....

Anonymous said...

"And yet the sort of news I envision, which is simply presented without embellishment, completely devoid of any feeling or interpretive flavor, has no way of succeeding, I think, amid today's marketing imperatives."

I was asked my opinion of the conference and my idea for a piece did not sit too well with anyone.

There were many journalism professors who agree with you Steve.

RevRon's Rants said...

anon 3:48 - If you believe that stepping forward in defense of another is nothing more than leaving yourself open to blame for their failures, I can certainly understand why having someone come to your defense would be a rare occurrence.

I have served in the military, and am probably as resistant to authority as anyone you're likely to meet. But look beyond the independent posturing a bit if you can. The point I was making is that especially in combat, your very survival depends upon an absolute assurance that every person in your unit is willing to put himself (or herself) at risk to protect any other member of the unit. There's a level of trust that is not replicated anywhere else, save perhaps in a tightly-woven law enforcement unit. That level of trust serves as a beacon for me; something to strive for in my other relationships, and I recognize that before I can expect someone else to be worthy of my trust, I must first prove myself worthy of theirs. And I pity anyone so isolated by their own narcissism that that such a trust is unlikely to occur.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
'What a pompous and dismissive thing to say in a forum like this.'

I am not particularly attached to my own beliefs, they are temporary and subject to constant revision.

I believe life is sacred and trumps all other beliefs. I don't find that pompous or dismissive at all, it is the result of a lifetimes contemplation.

I would suggest that the perceived pomposity and dismissiveness is your subjective view, which you are entitled to hold with as much
attachment as you wish.
If your subjective view is that my lack of attachment to my beliefs is offensive to you then feel free to bar me. I am not particularly attached to airing my views on this blog.

RevRon's Rants said...

"the sort of news I envision, which is simply presented without embellishment, completely devoid of any feeling or interpretive flavor, has no way of succeeding, I think, amid today's marketing imperatives."

Those marketing imperatives begat the deregulation of the media - in particular, the broadcast industry. Once the onus to provide a certain amount of public service programming as a prerequisite for renewal of their broadcast licenses was removed, so too was the impetus for providing anything resembling objective reportage of events. News divisions were expected to be self-sustaining profit centers, thereby reducing them to mere commodities, required to play to the lowest common denominator of viewers' (customers') appetites. Let there be Fox!

RevRon's Rants said...

Wow! Did Joe Vitale start a new curriculum: The School of Dismissiveness Through Feigned Detachment? :-)

Contemplation - even a lifetime's worth - is of little value if not enriched by interaction. A lifetime's contemplation of one's navel leaves one with an in-depth knowledge... of lint. :-)

Steve Salerno said...

Rev, that is a classic line. Truly.

Anonymous said...

'Contemplation - even a lifetime's worth - is of little value if not enriched by interaction. A lifetime's contemplation of one's navel leaves one with an in-depth knowledge... of lint. :-)'

Once again, Revron, your desperate desire to score a cheap shot is belied by your failure to read with precision.
At which point did I say that I had spent my life contemplating my navel? I contemplate constantly, on many varied things. I did spend some time navel-gazing in my distant youth, to learn the mechanics of the process, now I can contemplate and interact with a speed and complexity that would astound you. Commonly known as thinking on your feet, like all things practice makes almost perfect.

RevRon's Rants said...

Anonymous, you might want to devote some of that speed and complexity to contemplating how incredibly pompous you sound. Even Mr. Spock would roll his eyes at the self-image you're trying to project.

If you didn't pick up on the context of my navel-gazing remark, I suggest you give reading my comments again a shot. Maybe even re-read your own, pretending someone else had written them. It'll come to you. *That's* when I'll be astounded. :-)

And remember... a cheap shot is as good as any, so long as it's on the mark.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Revron, your aim is way off.
You need new spectacles.

Steve Salerno said...

Gee, we're just so witty, aren't we?

Sometimes it's hard to believe that we devote this kind of energy to such petty oneupmanship. And then I turn on the TV and hear the latest political ads...

RevRon's Rants said...

"Sometimes it's hard to believe that we devote this kind of energy to such petty oneupmanship."

So, Steve... I guess you won't be watching the "debate" tonight? I'm giving real thought to watching a Daily Show rerun online, and just catching the important parts of the "debate" on SNL. :-)

And be honest here, Steve. Isn't there a certain perverse pleasure in helping some people get their foot firmly in their mouth, especially when they make it so easy and - dare I say it - so darn necessary? Politicians, anonymous snipers... doesn't really make any difference.

No? Well, then... He started it!! :-)