Hey, what do you call a conservative who’s winning an arguement?

A racist.  (ba dump bump!)

I didn’t even have to start an argument against a commenter who followed me here from my new distractor blog hangout, Corporette (which is really fun for fashion tips for professional women) to already be winning it. She just dropped in, accused me of being a racist, extremist, radical, etc., gave absolutely no examples or support of why she thinks that way, and dropped back out.

If you want an example of the shallowness of the liberal mindset, please read Pamela’s comment, and my response, in my “about me” section.  Feel free to chime in here or there if you disagree with either of us.

Why did we go to war in Iraq?

A few days ago, I wrote a post thanking Former President George W. Bush for his unwavering support for doing what was right in our fight against terror.  Commenter hdhouse objected on the grounds that he believed that we were misled into the war:

No one disagrees that Saddam was one of the worst of the lot and justice caught up with him. That we trumped up all the other hoopla to invade Iraq when if Mr. Bush had just said, “hey..I wanna get that guy so we are going in” then it would have been something for an up and down vote.

But what Mr. Bush did was borrow the family car to go to the library and instead went out drinking.

I responded that I believed that removing Saddam and his regime was not only a valid reason for the war, but that it was a valid reason given for the war at the time as well. 

 I guess we all have different memories of our impressions at any given time, but I distinctly remember having discussions w/ my husband about getting rid of Saddam and his regime being the main, and clearly justifying, reason that we should go in during the time leading up to the invasion. WMD was still being debated at that time, but we agreed that, even if there were no WMD, it was still the right thing to do (I recall comparing it to a bodybuilder witnessing an old lady being beaten- although not perhaps required, it would be morally correct to intervene, and a moral failing not to).So, in other words, I don’t feel that I was misled that that was the plan and the goal, in the way you seem to. But memories are faulty things, and we all read them in our own ways.

I also commented that it would be an interesting project to do a media survey of the time before the war in an effort to understand what the public was told were the reasons for going.  Well, I can’t do that, exactly, but I can link to the Congressional Resolution on Iraq, which authorized the use of force.  It’s too long and legislative to really excerpt, but it clearly shows a number of reasons that the U.S. decided to go to war, only a few of which involve weapons of mass destruction. 

Of course, that was the law.  What the media actually said about it may be another story all together.

I don’t know, should I do it?

Recieved an interesting comment on my article “Looking for Hate in All the Wrong Places” from its link at Care2.

Just Carol wrote:

Just Carole (503)
Wednesday April 14, 2010, 6:09 pm
I hope you’ll accept this gesture with the grace with which it is offered. I’ve always thought that we could do so much more if we could concentrate on our commonalities.
 
(And, honestly? I don’t think I have any Tea Party members on my friends list.)
 
At CODEPINK, we are extending an olive branch to Tea Party activists. While we don’t support the goals and tactics of the Tea Party, there is an area where we are seeking common ground: endless wars and militarism.

I responded:

I appreciate your offer and your grace. However, I think that your attempt at a connection is misguided. The tea party movement (which I don’t speak for, though nor does anyone else, I guess) is about reducing the size of government, reducing government spending, reducing government control of our everyday lives, and reducing taxes. There appear to be a large number of veterans in the group. I do not believe that it would be in the group member’s interests to join forces with a group focused exclusively on anti-war efforts. However, if members of your group are interested in those things I listed, they are more than welcome to join the Tea Party movement; it’s very open. Just search for (your location) tea party, and you will certainly find an event that you can attend.

I do have a problem with what you said about not “support[ing] the goals and tactics of the Tea Party.” As for the goals, why would a group want to join with a group that explicitly does not support it’s goals? As for the tactics, I am not sure what tactics you are referring to, however, I would note that there are a lot of alleged incidents that are being reported as fact, when they have no support (despite hundreds of video cameras being nearby the alleged incidents). This was addressed in my article. The Tea Party has been explicit that it does not support racism or violence, regardless of what you might hear from those who stand to lose from its success.

I do, however, have a large problem with many of CodePink’s tactics. If you can tell me that the reports are mistaken or that the actors behind them do not speak for the group, I will reconsider, but I was extraordinarily dismayed when I heard about, for example, Code Pink’s disgusting attempt to psychologically torture little kids who have parents at war, as I described here . While I can understand an anti-war stance, I find the idea of Code Pink supporters calling for support for people who are killing our soldiers to be disgraceful. There are many other similar stunts that have been done under the name of CodePink that I certainly would want no part of, and I suspect that most Tea Party members would agree. Although, once again, I am not part of the group and do not speak on its behalf. Thank you for your grace. You are more than welcome to add me to your friends list, as I am always fond of interacting with people with whom I disagree.

I can see the logical connection between government spending and reducing our defense spending, but, knowing what I know of CodePink, I am certainly wary of this sort of “outreach.”  And, while it appears that she meant to be polite, I can’t accept the backhanded swipe at the Tea Party’s “goals and tactics,” particularly given the outrageous tactics employed by CodePink.  Any thoughts?  (I’ll add, just to be clear, that I am not a member of the Tea Party and have never been to an event (although I will be going tomorrow), so I couldn’t join forces in the name of the Tea Party even if I wanted to.  I’m just blogging it because it was interesting.)

Glenn Beck Lies . . . Doesn’t He?

Went and got myself involved in a spirited discussion at Althouse today.  In the mist of the discussion, one of the resident liberals, the quirkily named Alpha Liberal, off-topically asserted that Glenn Beck is “corrupting the political process with his deceit and hyperbole – just to make a buck.”  (This was based on a quote from a Forbes article about Beck, which stated:  

With a deadpan, Beck insists that he is not political: “I could give a flying crap about the political process.” Making money, on the other hand, is to be taken very seriously, and controversy is its own coinage. “We’re an entertainment company,” Beck says..

I pointed out, obviously, that I have no problem with making a buck, but if you’re going to claim that he is corrupting with deceit, you need to back it up.  In truth, this was  a challenged I relished; I constantly hear complaints about Beck, but they never appear to be qualified with actual, you know, examples.  I don’t often hear of things he’s gotten truly wrong, and I’d like to know if they are there. 

So, Alpha provided me with a list of links that clearly show that Glenn Beck is a horrible deceiver, and threw in an insult about how I would just stick my fingers in my ears and ignore them, for some reason that I don’t understand, given that he has no experience with me that would support that I would do that.  Here are my reactions to his “evidence.” 

1) The first allegation is that Beck lied when he asserted that President Obama’s science czar John Holdren “has proposed forcing abortions and putting sterilants int he drinking water to control population.”  The article then goes on to debunk the assertion that Holdren advocated doing these things.  You can read the article to get the whole picture, but here’s a summary:

But with regard to Beck’s claim that Holdren “has proposed forcing abortions and putting sterilants in the drinking water to control population,” the text of the book clearly does not support that. We think a thorough reading shows that these were ideas presented as approaches that had been discussed. They were not posed as suggestions or proposals. [read the article for the quotes and see for yourself if they are “proposals”- Lyssa] In fact, the authors make clear that they did not support coercive means of population control. Certainly, nowhere in the book do the authors advocate for forced abortions. !

Propose: to offer or suggest (a matter, subject, case, etc.) for consideration, acceptance, or action: to propose a new method.
2.to offer (a toast).
3.to suggest: He proposed that a messenger be sent.
4.to present or nominate (a person) for some position, office, membership, etc.
5.to put before oneself as something to be done; design; intend.
6.to present to the mind or attention; state.
7.to propound (a question, riddle, etc.).

Advocate: to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly

I assume that Glenn Beck knows the difference between these two words. It’s a shame that PolitiFact doesn’t.

2) Polifact gives a good explanation of why Beck’s assertion that less than 10% of Obama’s cabinet members have private sector experience.  They also point out that he apparently relied on subjective research from an otherwise apparently reliable source, so it seems wrong to call this deceitful, rather than simply mistaken.  Regardless, Beck should retract this, assuming that he has not done so already, and not use it again.

3)   Polifact explains here that Andy Stern was, according to visitor logs, the most frequent visitor to the White House for the first several months of the administration, with the possible exception of some people whose names may not have been consistently recorded, such as cabinet members, although a later report showed this was not the case after July, 2009.  I think it’s fair to call this wrong and somewhat misleading for him to rely on the earlier report without qualification.  Deceitful feels hyperbolic, though. 

4) Polifact is very clear here that  Beck was relying on the government’s own language, which they later removed, when he stated that the Cash for Clunkers website would allow the government access to a public user’s computer.   It can’t be considered deceitful to rely on the own statements of the entity about which you are speaking, can it?

5) Here, FactCheck.org fully admits that, while Beck says that Obama has more “czars” than any other administration, the term czar is a term supplied by the media.  Based on this, it appears that it would be inherently subjective how many people qualify as “czars” in any given administration.  I can’t accept this as misleading. 

6) We did this one already, see #4.  (Hey, is padding the list deceitful?)

7) I found this last one, purporting to prove wrong Beck’s assertion that Hitler was closer to liberal than conservative, to be wholly unconvincing.  First, clearly, what is and is not liberal/conservative is fraught with subjectivity.  While it is true that Hitler’s reliance on militarism could be considered more “conservative,” I don’t think this is nearly as simple as it seems.  After all, the main reason that liberatarians like Beck and myself are concerned about government having too much power is that government is inherently militaristic.  Just ask Mao (political power comes from the point of a gun), among the other socialistic and communistic leaders whose policies have culminated in millions of deaths at the hands of the government that was supposed to improve the citizens’ lives.  Additionally, Hitler’s economic policies were extremely heavy with government control.  The article also points out that Hitler used religion when it worked for him, but I do not think that this is inherently a liberal or conservative thing to do.  Certainly President Obama has been more than willing to use invoke religious imagery in his speeches, in fact, more so than former President Bush.

The things that Glenn Beck has done that impress me are to point out the histories and character of a number of people involved with the administration, such as Van Jones and Anita Dunn, using their actual words and speeches.  I am also intrigued by his use of history to show us how the modern progressive state has evolved.  He has been remarkably successful at these things, and, while I understand that his style is a bit bizarre, he’s kind of a hoot to watch just on the grounds of uniqueness. 

But, let’s face it, the man is by no means infallible, as is shown by some of these issues (one of which is, apparently, the result of too much trust in the government).  For someone who is on television five hours a week and on the radio for many more hours, this list strikes me as pretty unimpressive.  Only a #2 and #3 could even arguably be called dishonest (and, as I said above, that assumes a level of intent that is no where near supported by the facts presented), and many of the “lies” here are not even really untruths.  To some degree, calling these lies appears more dishonest than the statements themselves. 

I remain unconvinced that the man is deceitfully corrupting the political process.

I can be neither with you nor against you

I’m intrigued by this Ann Althouse post that discusses a move to prosecute a number of pretty horrible high school bullies whose harassment may have led the bullied teen to take her own life.  While Althouse raises some great questions that must be considered, I’m mostly caught up by the comments, which quickly descend into an argument on “who’s side do you want to take.”  One commenter in particular constantly insists that he is “siding” with the girl who was bullied, in insisting that the other students should be prosecuted, and several commenters deride Althouse for even asking questions about what actual crime has been committed and what the practical implications of prosecution may be on other cases. 
 
In other words, for many, it’s not about what happened or what should happen, it’s about who was more deserving of your sympathies. 
 
Which brings me to this Silent Majority post on the ongoing case involving a fallen marine’s family’s suit against the dreadful Phelps Group for picketing his funeral.  The case was appealed to the 4th Circuit, which determined that the Phelps group, as distasteful as their message may be, are still entitled to their free speech rights, and a suit against them cannot stand.  As is often the case when a party loses a motion or appeal, the court ruled that the unsuccessful party, in this case the family, must pay the court costs.  (Note: this is different than paying all of the legal fees associated with the litigation, such as attorneys’ fees.  This only encompasses the fees required to bring the suit before  the court.) 
 
Southern man writes:
 This is a miscarriage of justice. The man lost his son in defense of this country and his reward was a group of degenerate reprobates celebrating his son’s death at the funeral. Seeking justice he filed suit and was again rewarded by being ordered to pay the legal fees for this group of morons. Justice is supposed to be blind not stupid. I would implore anyone with the means to donate to this cause.
 Unfortunately, here, the writer is demanding that justice be the exact opposite of blind.  He is asking that the court dismiss this most fundamental American ideal of freedom of speech, and instead choose the side of the party that deserves sympathy, the fallen solider’s family. 
 
I have nothing but the deepest sympathies for this family, and the greatest of admiration for their heroic lost son.  I don’t blame them for filing this suit; I understand why they did so.  The Phelps group are horrible, horrible people who do horrible things, and I cannot blame them for letting their grief and outrage trump their respect for freedom.  But, ultimately, the court must respect the freedom of all people, including those with whom we strongly disagree. 
 
Perhaps it helps to imagine it in different terms.  Let us say that you wrote a blog post, or a letter to the editor if you’re more comfortable with that, which harshly criticized a dead political figure.  Let us say that the family of that figure, outraged that you would demean their dearly departed, filed suit for their emotional pain from your critiques.  Their suit is dismissed, of course, on the grounds that you had and have freedom to state what you wish, even if it is harsh or unpleasant.  Especially if it is harsh or unpleasant.  The court costs must be paid.  Who should pay them?  Unless you chose to represent yourself, you have already been required to pay for an attorney to protect your rights, and you have certainly expended considerable time, energy, and stress over this case.  Should you, who were brough to court against your will, for a charge that was bogus, be required to pay the court costs?  I think not. 
 
Here, perpetrator may be different, the case is not.  The Phelps group, as disgusting as their message is, has a right to speak their peace.  We have a right to criticize them harshly for it.  Conservatives are fond of responding to complaints based on over-zealous political correctness with the admonition that there is no right to not be offended.  This remains just as true when the offense is real, and the offendee is wholly deserving of our sympathies. 
 
I side with Freedom, whoever’s side she winds up on. 

More on Canadian Law’s Free Speech Problem

I wrote an article about Ann Coulter’s and Mark Steyn’s experiences with the Canadian speech police for NewsBlaze.  Please read it and let me know what you think. 

I also received a response from an interested Canadian.  Here is our exchange:

By far the majority of Canadians disagree with the move to muzzle Anne Coulter.  And that included the majority who disagreed with what she had to say.  Shortly after her cancelled speech in Ottawa, she went on to an uneventful speech in front of a sold out crowd in Calgary.  So please don’t generalize.  You are being as offensive as Mr. Houle although I’ll defend vigorously your right to express wrong opinions.

Comment on story http://newsblaze.com/story/20100329061957lyss.nb/topstory.html

Regards,

(name withheld)

Cobourg, Canada

Hello,

Thank you very much for reading and taking the time to comment.  I wanted to address your comment, though, in order to make sure things are clarified. 

First, I’m really glad to hear that you and a large number of Canadians disagreed with the silencing of Ms. Coulter’s speech.  That gives me hope for the future of freedom in Canada. 

However, I’d like to note that the statements that you described as my generalizations were based on the law in Canada, as it has been threatened against Ms. Coulter and exercised (albeit ultimately unsuccessfully) against Mr. Steyn.  Until the majority of Canadians rise up against these abusive and freedom inhibiting laws that allow people to be prosecuted for expression and demand that the police protect people’s freedom of expression, the beliefs that you attribute to them are only so much dust in the wind. 

In other words, I don’t believe that I was offensive or generalizing, and I’m not sure what I said that you believe was wrong. 

If you have no objections, I would like to post this discussion on my blog.  I will, of course, redact your personal information. 

Thank you again for reading and commenting.  I hope that you will continue to do so in the future. 
Thank you,

Lyssa

Op-Ed Contributor to NewsBlaze

lyssalovelyredhead@gmail.com

lyssalovelyredhead.wordpress.com

Lyssa,

Feel free to post the discussion – I tend to assume that emails become public once sent.

To take the discussion further, the problem in Canada with free speech is that while the courts generally support the idea, it’s covered by laws and precedents but not the constitution.  The laws are not really clear because there is also the “hate speech” law.   The blight on all this though is the collection of “Human rights commissions” which do not always make rulings that make sense.  A number of Canadians – including me – feel that these should be disbanded and leave any issues that need resolving with the regular courts.  Unfortunately, as yet, this idea does not have the same majority support that the concept of free speech has.

I further understand that the problem is worse in the U.K.  This is because they have a law against libel which is so easily invoked that people from other countries use the U.K. courts to press their dubious claims.

 So in summary, I do agree that the laws on free speech (constitutionally based) in the U.S. are better than other places – perhaps better than anywhere in the world.  But that does not mean everyone in those countries agrees with the laws.

 And to support my contention that “most Canadians support Ms. Coulter’s right to speak”, see this article here:  http://www.nationalpost.com/todays-paper/story.html?id=2738098

 Regards,

(name withheld) 

www.cobourginternet.com

 One commenter already expressed concern on my earlier post about how reflective this attitude is of Canadians in general.  I’m glad to hear that it is not very, and I hope that they are able to change their laws accordingly.

Germany has lost hope

Der Spiegel has a collection of German commentators expressing the lack of love for Obama (HT: Ann Althouse):  

This week, though — a week when Obama should have been celebrating the first anniversary of his inauguration — may have been the president’s worst yet. Scott Brown, an almost unknown Republican member of the Massachusetts Senate, defeated the Democratic candidate Martha Coakley for the US Senate seat vacated by the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. The defeat in a heavily Democratic state not only highlights Obama’s massive loss of popular support during his first year in office, but it also could spell doom for his signature effort to reform the US health care system.

This week, though — a week when Obama should have been celebrating the first anniversary of his inauguration — may have been the president’s worst yet. Scott Brown, an almost unknown Republican member of the Massachusetts Senate, defeated the Democratic candidate Martha Coakley for the US Senate seat vacated by the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. The defeat in a heavily Democratic state not only highlights Obama’s massive loss of popular support during his first year in office, but it also could spell doom for his signature effort to reform the US health care system.

This echos something my dad told me the other day.  He travels all over Europe on a regular basis (homeland security type job; it’s a family joke that he’s a secret agent) and says that Obama is now a laughingstock per the people he meets. 

On November 5, 2008, my liberal friends were oh so starry-eyed, saying over and over that all was going to be well and good now.  They’re most excited mantra, the one that they repeated over and over, was that that the world was going to like us now!  Now, thanks to Obama, we would be loved! 

I laughed it off, because, really, I’d rather be right than loved.  George Bush was right about the things that Europe hated him for, of this I have no doubt.  (He was wrong about a lot of other things, but that’s another post.)  I stopped worrying about being liked in my teens, and haven’t looked back. 

So, I’m laughing at them, not celebrating that Obama is not loved and not attempting to prove any points with that. 

Added: Hkatz, one of Althouse’s commenters, cites this story about Germany’s stage show: Obama, The Musical.  The article says:

Their plan is to take Hope on tour across Germany and then the rest of Europe. Hutchins acknowledges that it may be commercially difficult to take the show to the U.S., however, given the current gloom surrounding the Obama presidency.