August 29, 2007
Ask McCain If David Vitter and Elliot Abrams Should Resign
My dislike of John McCain never can go away for long it seems. And today it went right back up to "scorching". Seems he thinks Larry Craig should resign. I find that idea laughable. The guy might be deluded, self-loathing, pathetic, etc., but the idea that he should resign for admitting to what I'm still not clear is a crime is ridiculous. Now if you are regularing employing whores. That strikes me as rather more serious. And if you get convicted of keeping information from Congress in the Iran-Contra scandal, that strikes me as much, much, much more serious. So I want Sen. McCain to say if Vitter and Abrams should resign too - and if not, why they should get off while Craig should leave Washington.
Posted by armand at August 29, 2007 03:50 PM
| Posted to Politics
Duh. If Craig doesn't resign, John McCain might catch AIDS from being in the Senate with him.
Or maybe it's that he'd catch sin, or teh gay. Or something.
You know, I think it's the crowd I run with, or maybe working with young people, or just perhaps being a thinking human who is around a lot of other thinking humans, but sometimes I still get boggled at how much some people are "afeared," as jacflash points out. I have these moments of thinking just, well, really?
The fact that he pled guilty to a crime appears to indicate he believed he'd committed a crime. If whores are worse than lewd behavior (if criminally billed as such, putting a dent into the ability of sexually liberated women to earn a living, and in the process maintaining the Victorian oppression and upending some long overdo justice for oppressed women who would like to get one over on their male oppressors, Binky has a word for it, translated I think it means pleasure in quad damage), how does taking money before being elected from fugitive criminals who may be pardoned later, or taking money after being elected and pardoning their spouse, how do those fit into the order of unfitness to rule?
Mind telling us what you are talking about as your clearly have someone/thing in mind? "Taking money", even from nasty people, isn't necessarily illegal, so some context would be nice.
What you have here is a guy who seems to have engaged in some sort of signaling. I don't see that there was much more to it than that. And in and of itself, I don't think that means he should be forced to leave the Senate. If he's so sadly closeted that he won't seek proper legally representation that shows he's not looking out for his own best interests - but to me that's an entirely personal flaw and one that has no effect on his ability to serve the people of Idaho.
David Vitter on the other hand appears to have engaged in activities that were both illegal and have real consequences for other individuals - in fact his actions could send them to jail. To me, that's a rather more serious offense. And in any event he much more clearly engaged in bad behavior (and did so repeatedly). Craig's was so ... well, signal-ly, that a good attorney might have gotten the case dropped.
That being the case, it makes no sense to me at all to call for Craig's resignation and not Vitter's - unless one is simply doing so b/c of a general dislike or fear of what Binky terms "teh gay".
IT'S ALL CLINTON'S FAULT!
"David Vitter on the other hand appears to have engaged in activities that were both illegal and have real consequences for other individuals - in fact his actions could send them to jail."
But if Craig was actually signalling, then whoever he was signalling to if caught with him engagin in lewd behavior in that bathroom could also face consequences and send them to jail. As I understand it, you're saying Craig's alleged crime shouldn't be illegal, but there are those who make the case that prostitution's a victimless crime too. My point is that corruption is a far worse crime for a public individual for it's not at all about their personal life, it's exploitation (and abuse) of the public trust directly.
And given what we know from foreign policy expert (chortle, snort) Jimmah Carter:
"'I don't think there's any doubt that some of the factors in his pardon was attributable to large gifts, some of which he gave to Israel, other benefactors and the influence of his former wife, so I think that was, in my opinion, disgraceful,' Carter said, adding that Cli[n]ton had 'brought discredit to the White House because of it.'"
...while Marc Rich was a fugitive from justice:
"Rich received a pardon for charges, dating to 1983, of tax evasion, tax fraud and violating U.S. embargoes by trading with Iran during the U.S. hostage crisis. Both he and business partner Pincus Green were in Switzerland at the time of their indictment, and neither returned to the U.S."
...until he returned after his wife donated a million dollars to Hillary's campaign and he was subsequently pardoned:
"The Rich pardon sparked bipartisan outrage and congressional investigations to determine whether Rich’s ex-wife, Denise Rich, received a quid pro quo for contributing approximately $1 million to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate campaign, the Clinton presidential library fund and other Democratic causes."
...so when we find out that a fugitive has been giving a bundle of money to Hillary's campaign:
"Since 2004, one Norman Hsu has been carving out a prominent place of honor among Democratic fundraisers. He has funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions into party coffers, much of it earmarked for presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York....He earned a place in the "Hill Raiser" group from the Clinton campaign by pledging to raise more than $100,000 for her presidential bid."
...isn't a repeat of Marc Rich (if he hadn't been caught) just as plausible as Sen. Craig's signalling, and far more despicable? Shouldn't Senator Clinton resign?
I have no idea as I don't know the details of the Clinton situation (and your link is behind a registration wall). But see the thing is no one is calling on senators are calling on her to resign. Nor did they call on the corrupt folks mentioned in the link I posted this morning. And perhaps if Craig had been caught in a sex act in public calls for his resignation would make more sense. But see the thing is, he wasn't (whereas Vitter's clearly fessed up to engaging in illegal behavior, even if he hasn't plead guilty). All Craig's apparently guilty of is apparently essentially wearing a little sign saying I'd like the sex please. And THAT is who Senators McCain and Coleman think should resign. Not DeLay. Not Domenici. Not Doolittle and the Abramoff guys or anyone else caught in using their office toward corrupt ends. No they want to expel Craig. It's incredibly silly (and that's by far the nicest word I can use for it).
Sorry about the link, you can reach the story by doing a yahoo search with the terms:
clinton campaign donation fugitive california
My sense of all this is that kicking out Vitter is just as silly as kicking out Craig. Sure (if his wife didn't know about it) he needs some work in the husband department, a lot of work if it happened several times as he said and she didn't know about it (which obviously she may not say if she did). But Craig is married too so that applies to him as well. These are both statutory crimes, so I don't see one as being so much worse than the other. That's a great thing about GW is that we haven't seen a personal presidential scandal in almost seven years.
Huh? How is that a great thing? I don't give a damn what kind of husband he is. That doesn't affect the country. What kind of president he is is what matters to the country. And when it comes to his behavior in office he's been the most frightful in decades - reveling in his illegal behavior (which he could do, for among other reasons, having appointed an incompetent crony to head the Justice Dept., created ridiculous assertions of executive power that his underlings felt bound by, and set the lovely norm of firing federal prosecutors for not doing his partisan bidding).
And I just disagree with lewdness behind a bathroom stall being the same thing as taking part in a prostitution ring. But even if they are the same thing, then Coleman and McCain should be telling Vitter to go too - and they are not.
And now Clinton's giving back at least some of the money. So that supposed scandal seems quite a bit less scandalous.
"Huh? How is that a great thing? I don't give a damn what kind of husband he is. That doesn't affect the country."
That's simply not true. Clinton's married chasing of sexual partners etc. sends messages to everyone because we do receive them. If the media didn't cover non-official matters you might have a point, but they do, and as the president he sent the message that being married and getting a BJ from an intern was just what people do. These kinds of messages are what make up culture, unless you want to argue that culture has no effect on people's decision making.
Alito was rated well qualified by an ABA panel to be an associate justice, and he's no more an extremist than Ginsburg was, and she got onto the Supreme Court.
And the only reason Clinton's giving back the money is that she got caught. Just like Schumer taking a boatload of overlimit contributions and being penalized by the FEC. Are you telling me he doesn't know the law? If Jimmah says bad things about Bush and you believe him about Bush, why the sudden doubts when he talks about the Clintons?
He sent a message that that's "what people do"? Hardly. He did his damnedest NOT to send that message. Linda Tripp sent that message, and the media jumped on it. Basically, "the people" actually do do such things - and they like hearing about them. If it wasn't a story the public liked/related to, it wouldn't have gotten the air time it did. The media reflects the culture at least as much as it shapes it.
Alito is relevant b/c ... why? I seem to have missed how that's relevant to this thread. Though to suggest that he's less of an extremist seems really silly to me - though of course that gets into the whole "extreme compared to what question".
And I think all kinds of people take money from all kinds of bad people. Pretty much no one is immune on that score - but I also don't really give a damn unless there's an illegality or nasty quid pro quo involved, and I don't see that in this case. Actually it's not uncommon for a politician to return money from a source once they learn more about the source.
And just to reinforce my point, since the preceding post was simply responding to yours - if "the people" are so sad and ridiculous that they mirror the actions of celebrities they don't know in their own private lives ... well I just don't care, and to me, that still has no bearing on how president X was performing in office. To me whether or not the president keeps his wedding vows is about as relevant as whether or not he's a good bowler. To me you judge people's work by how they do their job, not by the nature of their marriage.
And, to the extent that it's relevant here, Orrin Hatch signed off on Ginsburg. To make claim that she and Alito are two sides of a coin is preposterous.
"Basically, "the people" actually do do such things - and they like hearing about them."
It's called voyeurism. They're emotionally happy, but the trouble is that acting on happiness via sexual appetites without regard for consequences leads people into conflict. In a values oriented culture, people would see that as obvious, but if you take values instruction out of the culture by justifying such action, then they can't make sense of why the original emotional consequence is followed self loathing that comes via biological empathy because they don't think they're supposed to feel bad about doing something like that.
So deconstructing values doesn't succeed at eliminating cognitive dissonance, it instead leads a person to be fragmented between their visceral experience and their beliefs, and since the visceral experience tends to be stronger, more powerful self loathing than would occur in beliefs versus beliefs because they don't believe they should feel self loathing over what they've done (their experience becomes more foreign to their beliefs).
"The media reflects the culture at least as much as it shapes it."
Study cybernetics. Messages have consequences. That's the only way you can explain the influence of culture. People act based on what they experience as the most dominant message they receive, be it visceral, perceptual, or anything else. And the idea that normalizing harmful behaviors can't push someone over their tipping point ignores all those lovely people I work with who rationalize using pot because it's natural (just like uranium and arsenic) or gambling because it's legal (and losing their family's rent money).
Further, the idea that somehow something (media) may receive a message and you expect that to have an effect but then when it sends out a message that's not supposed to have an effect defies basic cybernetics. If you believe a person is capable of receiving a message from the media without acting on it, and the media is made up of people, then the people in the media are as responsible as people who listen to them for the message they spread.
"Alito is relevant b/c ... why? I seem to have missed how that's relevant to this thread."
BDS strikes again. Here's what you said, if I may distract you from your irrational hatred of Bush of which you are not even aware:
"...having appointed an incompetent crony to head the Justice Dept...."
"And I think all kinds of people take money from all kinds of bad people. Pretty much no one is immune on that score - but I also don't really give a damn unless there's an illegality or nasty quid pro quo involved, and I don't see that in this case."
Jimmah Carter said there was a nasty quid pro quo or at least the appearance of one, but the Hillary for Senate campaign didn't give Denise Rich her money back after her husband got pardoned. You don't see it suggests you're too invested in her winning to see what you don't see, even if she isn't your top pick.
"And, to the extent that it's relevant here, Orrin Hatch signed off on Ginsburg."
And the ABA signed off on Alito. Like the ABA, Orrin Hatch signed off because she had relevant work experience qualifying her regardless of her political orientation. Forgive me if I'm not surprised that supposed liberals don't extend the same freedom of thought to those of opposing philosophical orientation.
Geez - my "hatred" of Bush (which isn't really that exactly, but if you want to use the term ...) is quite rational. Why would you think otherwise.
And see I like these things called facts, and one of those is that Gonzalez has headed the Justice Dept., not Alito - so I had no clue whatseoever why you were injecting the Alito name into this debate. As to the ABA ratings I would say that those reflect professional qualifications. They are not designed to serve as precise measures of extremism. And I think you are giving Hatch (and Justice Scalia) waaaay to much credit for being non-ideological - don't you think it makes a fair amount of sense for their favorite liberal (cue the the spooky music) to not actually be all that liberal? Empirical legal studies types actually do analyses in which they analyze all the votes that appealate court judges make - and turns out that when she was on the DC Circuit she really wasn't all that liberal. And on the Supreme Court I think it would be quite hard to suggest she's among the most activist of its judges.
And as to your Jimmy Carter stuff (and what's up with that drall thing you are doing?) - ummm, who the hell cares what Jimmy Carter says on such matters? Since when was he close to the Clintons or the Clinton White House (ummm, never), and why would he have any knowledge of the Rich incident that's trustworthy?
Now getting back to something more closely related to what this thread was about in the first place, you are merely returning to your usual paternalistic banter about how somewhere out there some will suffer if X is allowed ... so clearly this country of 300 million should stop in its tracks b/c there are some people who can't help but mimic behavior that might prove harmful to them. You and I have a deep disagreement on this point. You want the state and media to serve as parents and restrict freedoms - I don't.
And of course many people do not react to all the messages they receive in the media. That's silly. And your breathtaking self-assuredness (to put it as politely as possible) about what people REALLY want and what's REALLY good for them - well, that is what it is. And given that I'm not remotely surprised you are a fan of Bush and company, quite possibly including Lieberman.
Morris--Excuse me for using the imprecise phrase "signed off". Hatch indicates in his autobiography that he met with Clinton before the nomination, that Clinton told him he was leaning toward Bruce Babbitt, that he told Clinton that Babbitt would be a tough confirmation, and that he recommended two picks instead: Ginsburg and Breyer (who got the second Clinton appointment). He further indicates that Clinton told him he'd never heard of Ginsburg prior to Hatch's suggestion. At the time, there was a good deal made in the press about how Clinton gave Hatch more input than he gave Ted Kennedy or Joe Biden (who was then chair of the Judiciary Committee).
Do you really want to continue to argue that Alito and Ginsburg are equivalent? Did Patrick Leahy suggest Alito to Bush? Or do you want to argue that Hatch is just another one of those liberals who can't be trusted to tell the truth?
But we come back to a problem of measurement. How do you measure who's more extreme? Sure you could appoint a panel and they could do it, but then you're measuring who's more extreme contrasted to the members of that panel. And then you have to make sure the panel appointing isn't too extreme, so you have to appoint another panel to come up with measurable standards, then you have to do experimental research on those measurable standards.
"And your breathtaking self-assuredness (to put it as politely as possible) about what people REALLY want and what's REALLY good for them - well, that is what it is."
And as to the research, quoting Dr. Seligman in Authentic Happiness (p.195) "Secure people avoid one night stands, and they don't think that sex without love is very enjoyable.... The bottom line is that by almost every criterion, securely attached people and secure romantic relationships do better." I certainly agree not everybody's in that place all the time, but I don't see how it helps to engage in a logical fallacy (ad hominem) and say just because our culture was founded by paternalistic, slave owning white guys, everything they said or did was wrong and we should throw out the baby and the bathwater.
"And of course many people do not react to all the messages they receive in the media. That's silly."
What's silly is the argument that just because people don't always overtly change that messages from the media have no effect. What you mean is that every time a person receives a message from the media they do not cross a tipping point, and that is true. But your argument would also suggest that people can't die from alcohol poisoning because every time a person takes a drink they don't die.
I do want the media to acknowledge their responsibility, that people do respond to them and their stories have effects, something they want to forget when printing details about counter terrorism and a thousand other occasions. Actually, I don't care if they acknowledge their responsibility ("Can't talk to a psycho like a normal human being"), but I want other people to be aware of their delusional argument that all messages are good all of the time.
"But your argument would also suggest that people can't die from alcohol poisoning because every time a person takes a drink they don't die."
No - that's not my argument at all. I'm not saying some aren't affected. Some are. But I don't find that reason enough to set policy a certain way. We live in a country of 300 million people. B/c SOME of them might react a certain way to some stimuli ... well I find that a highly problematic way to set policy. Highly problematic.
As to your point about extremism - when it comes to judging, given the nature of the action, I think a fair way to rate that exists - Who would move us further away from the existing status quo? I mean one can only be exteme compared to something else. And the status quo seems a fair reference point. As to who is moving us from the status quo, between those two I'd say it's Alito.
"As to your point about extremism - when it comes to judging, given the nature of the action, I think a fair way to rate that exists - Who would move us further away from the existing status quo?"
But that is only a good standard insofar as the status quo is good. If our potential is greater than what we now are, to use the status quo as a standard hamstrings progress.
"No - that's not my argument at all. I'm not saying some aren't affected. Some are. But I don't find that reason enough to set policy a certain way. We live in a country of 300 million people. B/c SOME of them might react a certain way to some stimuli ... well I find that a highly problematic way to set policy. Highly problematic."
Well, sure it's problematic. But that what we do all the time. Every policy (and arguably every action) is a reaction to certain stimuli. The self discovery of life is typically not in finding which way of responding makes things perfect but in finding which way of responding better fits each person. Go back to the Zeitgeist of Nazi Germany, punished for years after the first World War. In a situation in which they were faced with great insecurity, they sought greater control.
So we figure out that if we don't like the picture of what they became, then we want to do something different, something that involved a certain level of leadership and management. Yet extreme liberalism in its nihilistic argument that everything's morally equally, that no behaviors should be prescribed, will if taken to an extreme find in their audience insecurity, people who do not know moral up from moral down, and people to whom the opposite extreme appeals (like those people with parents either too permissive or too controlling who see the solution as becoming the opposite extreme).
It is problematic because it requires looking at the individual stimuli and responses to it, as such it is not rigidly anti-rigidity and it is not rigidly anti-freedom, and thus is arguably the more free thinking option. It is simply a question of finding our place over finding the right approach as it acknowledges that any right approach when taken to an extreme becomes ugly, be it the anarchy of a neighborhood overrun with drug dealers or the order of a country run by a despot. The beauty comes from finding the sense (our place) in either approach or another way of being, not from the approach itself.
1. "extreme liberalism in its nihilistic argument that everything's morally equally" - ummm, who the hell actually argues this?
2. I don't find any beauty in "think of the children!" responses to society and stimuli. That's both childish and paternalistic, and infantilizes the country - and is hardly in keeping with the principles of liberty and innovation that have made our country a great place.
3. "But that is only a good standard insofar as the status quo is good. If our potential is greater than what we now are, to use the status quo as a standard hamstrings progress." - ummm, who'sajiggawhat? I thought we were trying to define extremist. To me extremist means diverting from the status quo in an extreme way. Extreme might well be "good" - but it's still extreme.
"I don't find any beauty in "think of the children!" responses to society and stimuli."
Who, besides House Speaker Pelosi, is arguing "think of the children"? We are all the products of a long process of first causes, that's our nature, so in that way we are children of a long natural process. You may not like it if you think your a beautiful and unique snowflake, but this is described by basic physics. If to argue one particular policy will serve the country better than another is paternalistic, then I would think healthy debate always has paternalistic implications. The truth is of course that government tends not to solve people's problems so well, and to create problems as it solves them, so its role should be limited.
"'extreme liberalism in its nihilistic argument that everything's morally equally' - ummm, who the hell actually argues this?"
So, to bring this back to the original thread, you're arguing that just because Denise Rich gave Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign a million dollars while Bill wasn't president doesn't suggest a connection with her husband's pardon, instead of that if there had been a connection it's morally wrong? It was my understanding that your hatred for Lieberman was because like those crazy fool conservatives, he stood on moral principles and makes moral arguments. In your words:
"Well, the big problem with Lieberman is that he seems to want to be everyone's rabbi and lecture us for the next few eternities about his moral beliefs...."
Baltar described moral values as a Republican (as opposed to Democrat) issue:
"A better question is: why is it that presidential elections are always fought on Republican terms (values, leadership, vision) and never on Democratic terms (rich/poor divide, rights, diversity)."
And if that's true and you identify with moral values, I'd think you might support a Republican position more often. But either way as Baltar described it, it's not emphasized by your party.
" To me extremist means diverting from the status quo in an extreme way. Extreme might well be 'good' - but it's still extreme."
Extreme can be extreme from any particular frame of reference. Because there are no essential aspects to everyone's sensory surround, some aspects will be more salient than others to some people. So someone growing up in past generations or other cultures may experience our own culture as extreme, and I'd hate to think your culturally or ethnocentric about what's extreme. But you hit the nail with the fact that extreme can be good, and so just because Alito and/or Gonzales (I forgot who this is about) may be extreme, to say they're wrong because they're extreme is a distraction from debating the merits of their positions on policy and justice.
Extreme (re)-actions are balancing responses (they fit) to extreme behaviors, they return harmony. So when responding to extremists, to be anything but extreme is a failure to accept the situation as it is, unless there's something more relevant. Typical morality tends not to fit because the situation is by its nature not typical, it is exceptional (they are extremists). If what we see as extremists were typical, then our typical morality would reflect, adapt to and internalize that reality (explaining the warrior code of those who live near the extremists).
But that doesn't mean that our typical morality doesn't tend to fit (and work better) in most of our typical situations, for the proof is in the pudding with research now confirming that most things people believed moral for the last couple thousand years are actually descriptions of what worked and continues to work, and some of our culture's moral changes reflect acknowledgment and subsequent description of what didn't work but now can. To throw out moral descriptions and prescriptions just because those who came up with them weren't perfect makes no better sense than throwing out scientific data because you don't like the scientist. Moral descriptions would not have survived had they not worked/fit within a particular historical frame of reference.
Anything in particular you can recommend by this Leo Strauss? Or maybe my brother can recommend one he makes required reading for his students (chortle, chortle, snort).
Why on Earth would I require Strauss? It has nothing to do with what I teach.
Of course it's a complete crock so I wouldn't assign it anyway, but I don't generally choose what to assign or what not to based on the "ideology" of the author.
Is it a complete crock you've read, or a complete in another way?
Huh? Oh are you trying to make some cutting comment about me having uninformed opinions? If so, no dice. We covered Strauss in a political philosophy class I took when in grad school. I don't remember which text or texts I read, but I do remember coming away with the belief that it was built on deeply flawed assumptions - plus of course it was just sort of icky in an intensely paternalistic I know best and I insist you do what I say kind of way, and I'll reference all this BIG MEANINGFUL PAST stuff to see if you'll go along with it. He's kind of like Justice Scalia that way.
You can't remember what "text" you read? I find that difficult to believe with that memory of yours. So you don't know if it was a book, a journal article, some interpretation or digest version? At least you gave it a fair shot and paid attention to it, right? I learned about Maslow in my classes, in my textbooks, but I didn't know any true appreciation of his work until I read what he'd actually written. Sometimes reader's digest doesn't cut it.
What is with you today? First you imply that I've never read him (and in the process seem to suggest that that is some awful thing), and now you still imply that I didn't read him even though I just said we covered him in class. Yes, shockingly I'm sure (since you seem to want to insist that I didn't), that did mean actually reading his own words (just how do you think grad school works? we read endless collections of cliff notes or something?). I am sure I read a book of his (no I don't remember which one), maybe some of his articles too. And if you think I remember all the titles of the things I read in grad school (especially works in a field I never had to study for general exams) you've got no real understanding of just how much you have to read in grad school. At least in poli sci programs ...
You're diverting into personal attacks, and need I remind you before you knock my grad school that my faculty advisor from whom I took theories and techniques and who supervised my internship learned directly from Carl Rogers and Carl Whitaker? He's one of the most voracious readers I've ever met, and they didn't do the cliff notes version at Northwestern. But lest you forget that intellectualization is a defense mechanism, and (if you read Maslow, you would know) there is a difference between external and internal knowledge, and the internal knowledge is why therapists exist. If he had thought it was necessary, he would have assigned us countless readings. But busy work isn't what we do, which is why our field attracts helpers instead of beaurocrats.
My question is what were these assumptions that Strauss uses that you find "deeply flawed"? From what I can tell from the wiki summary, it appears consistent with Nietzsche, Heideggar and the quantum physics realities such as Heisenberg's uncertainty and the quantum measurement effect in its approach that we may never know the whole fundamental picture of reality but that the way we see that reality nevertheless has consequences. I'm confused as to how these are deeply flawed assumptions.
Yes because you know "bureaucrats" never help anyone. State, Defense, CIA, FBI ... so useless, right? And I wasn't knocking your school. I know nothing about your school. I do know about mine, and I struggle under such an ocean of reading that it's not at all uncommon for me to forget titles.
And I really have no interest in getting diverted into Strauss today.
"intellectualization is a defense mechanism" -- Stephen Colbert? Is that you?
Also, a few comments back Morris, in engaging Baltar you contrasted the hobby horses of the right and left, respectively, in response to Baltar's comment that the Right controls the terms of the debate, and then you made a somewhat opaque reference that made "morals" the business of the right, and suggested that "morals" voters should vote republican.
I just thought I'd thank you for illustrating Baltar's point perfectly regarding framing the debate. You quote Baltar as characterizing the left's focus thusly: "rich/poor divide, rights, diversity." Please explain to me how these aren't moral (no square quotes) issues?
The right might try and coopt the term morals, but in doing so they're simultaneously debasing the term and making a mockery of the very concept. One would hope core moral principles aminate the efforts of all good-faith public servants in decisionmaking roles. What "morals" appears to mean in the exclusively-right sense is "proscriptive priggish censurious hypocrisy derived from a cribbed and contextually indefensibly narrow reading of scripture that comports more with the psychological fears of the politician and his putative electorate than with any reasonably holistic account of the text."
That's contemporary republicanism, not morality.
The rich/poor divide, rights, and diversity are moral issues, but the libs' approach them backwardly. That is the libs seek vengeance against the rich, the majority race, the majority religion, etc., that's exactly what the ACLU does. If they wanted to protect rights, they'd represent Christians or european americans or heterosexuals, but they're interested in focusing on THE DIVIDE between the haves and have nots. They want people to see how some people are treated differently, not how people's rights should be protected.
Sin framed by liberalism is being a white or a male or having more money than someone else. I might be more optimistic about government being the solution through the judicial system to these problems if I knew of a lot of socialist systems that were the picture of life as it should be. But the more power governments get, the more they're prone to abuse of that power, and in the end its the elites who benefit via corruption.
Sure even in our country, we have our share of Barbara Boxers and Harry Reids making hundreds of thousands with land deals and having family members serve as lobbyists paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Republicans do it too because it's a problem of any government system. But as you'd realize reading The Road to Serfdom, the problem grows as government grows, and the well meaning CIA beaurocrats are said by the left to have become spineless jellyfish willing to be exploited by whatever government's in power.
Back to morality, the left focuses on THE DIVIDE, like a preacher giving sermons only about the sinners, what seperates the holier than thou from the others. We live in arguably the greatest nation on earth with equality of opportunity unknown to most nations throughout history. But like that preacher, the left wants anyone successful to give taxes, passing around the government collection plate so that the less fortunate, those on the other side of THE DIVIDE can benefit.
So pretty soon if you look at the history of socialist countries who take this approach, THE DIVIDE becomes less and less, everyone starts looking equally miserable. That collection plate that started out heavy keeps getting less and less because now people think they're on the down side of THE DIVIDE, so they're entitled to slip some change to the guys passing around the plates instead of paying their fair share which is what's obvious with Denise donating a million dollars to the Hillary campaign and getting her husband a Presidential pardon.
He doesn't have to pay his fair share of freedom because he's supporting someone who's so consumed with overcoming THE DIVIDE that most people don't even see the corruption in that act. This moral justification is why you don't see the Left go after its own, because they're not interested in attaining any excellence, so when they fall via corruption or anything else, they don't it as a problem, and anyone who calls attention to their falling further illustrates THE DIVIDE.
In short, the morality of liberalism looks just like kind of Christianity that Nietzsche lamented a century ago, because it talks of opportunity but only to guilt people into thinking about their sin of living too well. Such an approach is ugly because in denying the existence of tragedy (the circumstance of someone being on the down side of THE DIVIDE) they also deny the existence of beauty and excellence when someone overcomes THE DIVIDE.
I can't get over you making these arguments. Is it bizarro day? Who talking about there not being a red America and a blue America? Democrats. Who've been working to bridge gaps by appealing to rural and religious voters. Democrats. Who decided to run lots of candidates last fall who were socially not the best fits with the national party? Democrats. Who threw away the gun-control issue? Democrats. For years now (at least since the early 1990's) they have been trying hard to appeal to the center.
Whereas during the same time period what have the Republicans done? Run on a FEAR THEM! campaign. The them being secularists, gays, and people of color, among others. And they've become more and more the same in terms of their belief set (a dozen years ago only 55% of Republicans identified as conservative - now it's over 70%).
As to which party is the big tent party and which party is the Border Patrol party for a one true America (its own one true America) - I find it hard to believe that you'd see the Democrats as the ones being divisive.
And you clearly know nothing about the ACLU - they fight for the rights of the Klan and Mormons, etc. They want to protect threatened speech. Sometimes that speech is "conservative". But hmmm, why is it that "liberal" speech often seems to be threatened more? I wonder ...
And by the way, doesn't your acknowledgement that lots of leaders of the Democratic party are indeed rich heterosexual white guys suggest that they are in fact NOT seeking "vengeance" against such people? A lot of leftists would find this claim of yours most amusing.
"I find it hard to believe that you'd see the Democrats as the ones being divisive."
So why did Al Sharpton run as an unreprimanded Democrat in 2004 after he's incited violence against jews which got a Rabbinical student stabbed to death in Brooklyn's Crown Heights in 1991, and then in 1995 after telling another crowd "We're going to see that this cracker suffers," COINCIDENTALLY someone shoots four people dead and sees that seven die in the subsequent blaze of the store which was the target of Sharpton's words? Why after Tawana Brawley and the Duke lacrosse team hoaxes isn't he reprimanded by the Democratic Party unless these kinds of divisive stunts are the Democratic Party playbook?
As far as reaching across party lines, have you forgotten Hillary saying that she doesn't see how someone can be a Republican and a Christian or your man from Vermont Dean saying how the only way Republicans can get black people into a meeting is if they're serving the food? The Clinton camp in particular has a history of this, from the 2004 election:
"'Bush has a plan for America. But you're not part of it,' says one television ad being released Monday. Another claims: 'Bush said prosperity was right around the corner, but he wasn't talking about the corners in your neighborhood.' ...Founded by former Clinton administration aide Harold Ickes and funded in part by billionaire philanthropist George Soros, the Media Fund is making its first major pitch to minorities."
Of course you think they're right, that Republicans really are racist, so you don't even see this as divisive, because (as I noted above) from the Democratic perspective people that are set upon overcoming divisions are special cases who can't be divisive, because they're entitled to do anything necessary so long as they have these good intentions.
Ergo, Hillary can't be corrupt because she has the intention of overcoming Republican corruption, and any million she collects as a quid pro quo for letting justice slide (or rather letting a conviction slide because it is of course just for someone to get out of jail, and he is entitled to be free if his wife helps out an overcomer) is Hillary's way of overcoming bigger corruption, by Republicans of course.
Hillary can't even be divisive because she's only dividing people against the true dividers that are of course all Republicans, right?
First, you've really got to stop talking about Sharpton and Jackson when you talk about the Democratic party. They aren't party leaders and have never been elected anything. It would be like me adopting Alan Keyes and Pat Robertson as the symbol of all things Republican. It's really silly and off target b/c the point here is the party - and they've never been party standard bearers.
Has a Democrat ever said anything divisive? Sure. But I don't see how an argument can be made that the Democrats run on dividing the country more than Republicans do. You are aware of The Southern Strategy, right? Why do you think that even in the 21st century Bush's recess appointees to the federal bench were from the South? There's a long history of playing on racial fears in the Nixon and post-Nixon Republican party(Atwater, etc). There's no getting around it. And I don't know of any thing the Democrats have done that's on any similar scale as divisive. I mean you can pull out a quote here and a quote there (I've never heard of the Hillary quote you mention ... which says something right there about how much effect it could have on the electorate) - but that's hardly party strategy, whereas the Republican/FoxNews strategy is to label Democrats friends of dark-skinned people who want "your money", and they are often traitors to boot.
And Howard Dean has a point. Just look at this campaign. Democrats had their debate at Howard University. The leading Republicans declined to accept an invitation to stage a similar debate. Or to debate gay issues. Or labor issues. The Republicans are becoming increasingly insular and focused on THEM in ways the Democrats are not.
armand said "the Republican/FoxNews strategy is to label Democrats friends of dark-skinned people who want 'your money', and they are often traitors to boot"
interestingly, most of this apt summary is evident in morris's longest comment, above, especially characterizing dems' putative tax and spend as socialism, rather than a significantly, but not categorically different approach to the same capitalist system, which is in fact what it is. and someone who believes bush represents the GOP well would be wise to recognize the degree to which government has expanded under his standard bearer to unprecedented levels. that he appears to conduct the expansion on a combination of borrow-and-spend i'll-fuck-the-next-guy-who-gets-the-office-rather-than-worry-about-how-to-pay-for-my-misadventures tactics and unfunded mandates doesn't make him any less horrible to anyone who still embraces the republicanism of reagan or his contemporaries.
and in keeping with the theme of illustrating the very points you try to refute, your response to my comment regarding morals a) was unresponsive and b) was clearly talking about "morals," not morals, and so merely echoed the bullshit attempt to frame that aspect of the debate in a way that dems can't engage (when it succeeds), notwithstanding that on matters of economic justice (which is a far more apt descriptive phrase than bullshit call-outs to a socialist agenda that doesn't exist), social issues, education, health care, abortion, and just about anything else you can point to, the american electorate broadly favors democratic ppositions. if that doesn't persuade you that the republicans are winning the image war, not the moral or substantive one, than evidence clearly has nothing to do with your ideas about the united states, and democracy nothing to do with your supposedly pro-democratic positions. so who's speaking as an elite, now?
regarding "THE DIVIDE," i WHOLEHEAREDLY AGREE with ARMAND. and even moreso with respect to the ACLU -- are you not even bothering to keep up with the real entities that you turn into strawmen with indefensible, and often incoherent mischaracterizations? i mean, you could just start speaking in a gibberish language and do so just as truthfully. although, of course, we know how little truth matters to the contemporary right, what with the mockery hurled at the reality-based community.
and then this: "Sin framed by liberalism is being a white or a male or having more money than someone else." and all that guff about
the left can't truck in sin if it's amoral, now can it? furthermore, to use sin as some sort of bone thrown in the direction of this discussion qua reflection on competing moral accounts, is a dangerous shorthand insofar as it suggests that the judeo-christian tradition has a lock on morality as such, a truly preposterous claim.
but let's pretend sin is a legitimate term. if so, sin framed by liberalism is getting rich on the backs of others and then asking them, while standing on their backs, to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. sin framed by liberalism is getting rich on the backs of others, pretending that one is rich in virtue of his own merit and not as a combination of opportunity, upbringing, social privilege, as well as hard work (the illusion that the latter is sufficient, across our population, is exploded by paying attention to all the hard-working, honorable people in the lower class who can get nowhere beyond feeding their families, if that far), and thus warrants hoarding mercilessly one's wealth in the vague hope that one might choose to give back, rather than saying, 'wow, you're living pretty high on the hog and only because people below you are contributing to your success, and in order to ensure that the people who facilitate your wealth don't starve and suffer, we're going to assess a slightly higher proportion of the tax burden on you, since you've gotten more from the system than most, and since you can afford it.'
that's not vengeance, morris, that's an idea about social justice. you may have other ideas about social justice, but characterizing the left's as vengeance is pithy, ignorant, and strongly suggestive of your inability to engage in rational debate regarding the fairest way to run a society to ensure keeping faith with its claims of equal opportunity.
oh, and regarding intra- or interparty divisiveness, exhibit one is your own ridiculous attempt to characterize the whole left as vengeance-minded. is that what you've taken from wrangling with the folks here for years? really? i mean, come on.
and re diviseveness in general, please remember, your favorite president kept turdblossom in his stable for seven years, a man who, rather than engage an honorable, POW veteran in a fair debate on the merits of the issue, instead, at a critical juncture in the 2000 primary, push-polled a salacious and wildly unfounded insinuation of mccain's homosexuality, illustrating three things: 1) an utter lack of principle; 2) an utter terror of substantive debate; and 3) that the right will cynically exploit the basest aspects of the pseudo-scriptural morality that it, itself, has made an issue over the past fifteen years, rather than taking up the truly difficult and consequential substantive debates it's been neglecting for just as long.
i'd love to debate the right, morris, but there's no one to debate, including you when you won't engage the issues relying instead on false-premise-driven invective.
"interestingly, most of this apt summary is evident in morris's longest comment, above, especially characterizing dems' putative tax and spend as socialism, rather than a significantly, but not categorically different approach to the same capitalist system, which is in fact what it is."
If you want to measure something along a continuum, and you call one extreme capitalism and the other extreme socialism, how is it that liberalism which thinks government is a better judge of how to spend money than the individual from whom it taxes is not categorically different from capitalism? Certainly they're both along a continuum, but as they approach different extremes they are different approaches to economics.
And I'll be happy to talk about any of Bush's increases in the budget individually, because there are some things individuals can't accomplish on their own, such as national defense, homeland security, etc. There are also issues such as pensions and benefits for disabled veterans which because they served the interests of our nation are in our interest to protect both morally and to send a message to others who would protect our nation, that they won't be forgotten.
No child left behind took a huge beaurocracy and subjected it to assessment, increasing freedom of opportunity by allowing students in failing school districts to move to better schools, thereby serving the national interest of realizing our citizens' full potentials, regardless of their parents' income. The unions protecting the "worker's rights" of teachers had become destructive to the rights of students to obtain the best education available.
For someone who claims to resist my gibberish, you have a knack for it: "my comment regarding morals...was clearly talking about 'morals,' not morals" but let me see if I can't find a way to distill the salient points from your rant. You make a point about the experience of overcoming as being meaningless because to actually think of it as individual overcoming is blind to other factors. I would agree insofar as the substance of what you say were it not for the implications of what you say.
Let's say there's two people, Joe and Bob. Joe believes people can pull themselves up by their bootstraps, Bob believes that any success is random and without individual merit. When faced with an opportunity, according to Seligman's learned helplessness research from several decades ago, the one with the sense that they can make something of an opportunity will do that, but the one with the sense that success just happens and that essentially they're a creature of fate won't take that opportunity to better their life.
The belief that individual effort matters, even if it is simply an illusion, makes the difference between people who succeed and people who don't, and ergo it is not an illusion. Just because it appears an illusion that people can do it entirely on their own never implies that it's an illusion that the individual's effort is without worth, that such belief and effort are not sufficient to make the difference between one person who will succeed and one who otherwise may fail.
The Democratic tax and spend position, punishing people who succeed until they look like the people who don't, takes the incentive away from people who would succeed. If I make $200,000 and 80% of it is taxed, there's not much incentive for me to generate that excess wealth which could in my hands be spent or invested and lead to more jobs.
"that's not vengeance, morris, that's an idea about social justice. you may have other ideas about social justice, but characterizing the left's as vengeance is pithy, ignorant, and strongly suggestive of your inability to engage in rational debate regarding the fairest way to run a society to ensure keeping faith with its claims of equal opportunity."
Here again you demonstrate your ignorance of research. Jonathan Haidt has found that moral intuition drives morality more than "rational debate," that human beings are hard wired for morality, that "...it is implausible that the neural mechanisms that control human judgment and behavior were suddenly rewired to hand control of the organishm over to this new deliberative faculty [of language and conscious moral reasoning]." (from his 2007 article in Science)
And in contrast to your attempt to imply that I'm somehow Judeo-Christian cultural centric (Armand could tell you I don't focus on sin--my point was to illustrate how liberalism adopted the same moral nihilism decried by Nietzsche when held by Christianity) and I'm actually a Taoist at heart, so your focus on that word says a whole lot more about you than about me) is in contrast to the research that the more conservative someone is, the more relevant are the values of authority, ingroup, and purity.
In Haidt's words, "In my cross-cultural research, I have found that the moral domain of educated Westerners is narrower--more focused on harm and fairness--than it is elsewhere. ...And it's not just members of traditional societies who draw on all five foundations; even within Western socieities, we consistently find an ideological effect in which religious and cutural conservatives value and rely upon all five foundations, whereas liberals value and rely upon the harm and fairness foundations primarily."
In other words, it isn't just that conservatives have other ideas about social justice, it's that we're more sensitive (sophisticated?) to relevant other values in addition to social justice. According to Trivers in 1971, social justice is motivated by three emotions, anger, guilt, and gratitude. So my characterization of liberal motivation as being by anger did leave out guilt as another motivator, but quite honestly I haven't seen a lot of lefty gratitude lately.
When Democrat party types talk about helping the poor and minorities, they do (as I actually have continued to learn at this blog) use it as a way to take shots at conservatives who they believe must be racist. I this way, Armand's statement as quoted by you about making connections to Democrat friends of dark skinned people is evidence of your inability to recognize that merit is what is valued by conservatives, typical of people who undervalue the relevance of purity.
And where is the lefty gratitude, if it's not anger or guilt motivating them? You liberals laughed at 41's thousand points of light. Where were all the Dems in talking to Petraeus about appreciating his sacrifice, his strategy?
And do you know I had to google McCain and homosexuality to figure out what you were talking about? I don't like McCain for a variety of reasons based on his flip floppery, not based on the testimony of Karl Rove, but I guess in your invective and fascination with personal politics you just don't understand, must be that anger blinding you via BDS. If your concern was rational debate as you suggest, you wouldn't need to throw out personal attacks.
"First, you've really got to stop talking about Sharpton and Jackson when you talk about the Democratic party. They aren't party leaders and have never been elected anything. It would be like me adopting Alan Keyes and Pat Robertson as the symbol of all things Republican. It's really silly and off target b/c the point here is the party - and they've never been party standard bearers."
The whole point is that there is no standard in the Democratic party, so how could there possibly exist an actual, real standard bearer? With Reid's land deals and Boxer's husbands land deals, Ted Kennedy and Schumer et al, who would be the left's standard bearer? Going back to the point I made earlier, if the left doesn't recognize the human condition as having any kind of purity because as Moon makes the point, everything is seen as a consequence of the system in which a person exists.
This is kind of like complementarity in physics, you can look at life from the perspective of the particle or from the perspective of the field (system) in which it exists. Libs value the field at the particle (person)'s expense, and so seek to empower the field (government), without regard for the fact that the particles behave differently depending on where the focus is (a la the quantum measurement effect).
So no one can be a traitor because in the lib sense, there is no in group that's valued above another, which devalues the worth of the individual. That is, if I protect China or Iran just as much as I protect America without regard for the fact that I could be wiped out in my quest for social justice, I'm ignoring my value as a person and being blind to the value of others in my group.
I just don't know of any conservative group who plays the race card as you say who isn't denounced by the "standard bearer"s in our party. I do know that Ray Nagin plays the race card all the time ("chocolate city", "very few of them look like us") and Obama says he's "been going through so much for so long." His ignorant racism is excused as part of his struggle because the Dems have no standard to bear.
"And Howard Dean has a point. Just look at this campaign. Democrats had their debate at Howard University. The leading Republicans declined to accept an invitation to stage a similar debate. Or to debate gay issues. Or labor issues. The Republicans are becoming increasingly insular and focused on THEM in ways the Democrats are not."
I can't find anything about a Howard University debate, the only one I found was for Morgan State, and all the candidates I'm considering, Fred Thompson, Duncan Hunter, and Mike Huckabee look like they'll be there. And the Dems refused their fox news debate. How are they not insular? Yes, they have for now given up taking away people's guns, except again for Nagin. But it's not like they wanted to, they just couldn't win in the South without running anti gun control candidates. That's my main reason (among others) for opposing Giuliani.
Good conservatives want excellence recognized, not race. That is our standard. We find it offensive that "our money" (money earned by excellence) is assumed to be "their money" (money given to those who believe themselves entitled without excellence) without our permission; to us that sounds like a robbery. As the great communicator put it, "Taxation without representation is tyranny." When we give it away, it is out of gratitude and appreciation of excellence, not because we feel guilty about the have nots and angry at the haves.
The first half of this is just too ridiculous to merit any kind of response. You are acting like the Republicans don't LOVE government, when they do (looked at the budget lately? or the socially engineering projects praised by the White House and radical right?), and acting like the torture-lovin', law disrespectin' White House has standards. It is too laugh. The whole reason that many scary liberals are mocked as unelectable by the establishment is that they do have standards.
Just b/c you can't find the Howard debate doesn't mean it didn't exist. And good for Thompson, Huckabee and Hunter (though speaking of big spending Republicans ...). And why on Earth would the Democrats debate on the mouthpiece of the Republican party? Until Fred Mitt and Rudy agree to be grilled by Howard Dean on national tv for 2 hours, the Dems aren't being more insular on that point than the Republicans.
As to your last paragraph ... ummm yeah. Whatever. Last I checked you didn't live in DC, so you have representation. And if you really want to have anarchy, no roads, no schools and some system of society in which the only public goods are those provided by the goodwill of George Soros and Richard Mellon Scaife, have fun with that. Personally, I prefer the USA.
Fred Thompson has dropped out of the Morgan St. debate.
So, drawing from today's post:
Hillary beholden to Jewish interests=hack
Fred Thompson not beholden to black interests=racist
Here we are again with the liberal obsession with fairness at the expense of everything else, except when that fairness would be to Jews, whites, men, Christians, and anyone else perceived to have power. Here again we have the liberal obsession with the victims, and any alliance with an independent, successful race/gender/religion is perceived to be motivated only by greed at the expense of equality, rather than the possibility they may be our friends who've stood with us and to whom we should be loyal, or the possibility that they stand for an ideal and picture of moral and/or societal purity which could be superior to, let's say the Venezualen or Iranian variants, even if they do not always meet that standard.
I choose "hack" b/c of Yglesias's argument - which is basically a united Israel might be a perfectly legitimate position of what's in Israel's national interest, but it's not what's in the US national interest. "Hack" suggests (or was meant to) that she's centered on easy talking points, and has a shallow grasp of what's really in the US interest (at least in MY's view).
Victimology doesn't enter into it.