Saturday, May 23, 2009

One Volokh, Three Nicks, Flannery O'Connor, and passion

I'm going to quote three of my favorite websites in this post. The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason Magazine, and Counting Cats. Read all three of these closely. You will be tested.

Here's The Volokh Conspiracy:

....For libertarians who lean "left" on foreign policy, Obama's rhetoric gave them hope that as president he would fundamentally reassess American foreign policy in the direction of nonintervention, and reverse various national security policies that they felt threatened individual liberty.

....libertarian Obama supporters got the opposite of what they hoped for: a moderate on foreign and national security policy, and someone fundamentally reassessing American economic policy in the direction of bigger government.

Yep, The Teleprompter Jesus has sent an extra 17,000 troops into the sandpile, and you can check the clock to your right to remain updated on how long he's been in charge of the whole mess. And Havana East, or Guantanamo Bay, remains open for business.

Nick Gillespie of "Reason" lays out a rant on the same topic:

Question to the folks, including some of the libertarian persuasion (you fools!), who were bullish on Obama back when the alternative was John McCain, the Terri Schiavo of presidential candidates: When are you going to admit that Barry O stinks on ice?

Here's NickM, from the Counting Cats website, on the British National Party - a "whites only" political organization led by Nick Griffin. The BNP made the mistake of sending NickM a pamphlet comparing their political battles to The Battle Of Britain:

I am English and proud of it. Being English is a state of mind and I absolutely don’t need Nick Griffin’s Brownshorts to remind me of the truth of my birth. To put it bluntly he can go away and be fucked up the council gritter by an alpaca (or whatever other Latin American beast of burden is up for the job and can be hepped-up on PCP).

...OK folks. A poignant image. (The fighter plane in the BNP's pamphlet) Our finest hour and all that. Obviously “Battle for Britain 2009″ is a dismal attempt to compare what Churchill called the struggle to save Christian Civilization to the tawdry political ambitions of a one-eyed Welsh git.

....But that’s the BNP for ya. They might use the symbolism of our finest hour (farcially incorrectly - but what the heck) to their electoral ends but they do not speak for me.

They are in fact abhorrent to me. I am a libertarian and they use one of the free-world’s most potent symbols (and it was also pretty good in a furball) of freedom to espouse insane racism. I am sitting here in my shed in Cheshire with my pale skin and blue eyes and blonde(ish) hair married to a blue-eyed blonde and I am fucking outraged. English is not something you are. It is something that just happens to you. And the BNP bastards will never, ever, take that away from me.

....It is not so much that the BNP are excrable racist hoons (though they are) that I object to. It is the simple fact they’re complete fucking edjits.

Now let's toggle back over to Nick Gillespie of Reason. Trust me, I'm going someplace with all this.

Mega-props to our President Obama for yesterday's speechifying about simplifying and fair-izing the Infernal Revenue Service and all that.

Except for one small nitpicky thing: He's full of shit on this topic. How precisely is he or his Slugger's Row of policy mavens (you know, the idjits who can't even use Turbo Tax) gonna make the income tax more fair? As it stands, the top 1 percent of filers pay 40 percent of all income taxes; the top 5 percent pay 60 percent; and the top 10 percent pay fully 70 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 50 percent (5-0, Dano!) pay a whopping 3 percent of all income tax.

Kind sir, prithee, what the hell are you going to do to remedy this situation? You promise "tax cuts to the Americans who need them." Hey pal, I just shelled out tens of thousands of dollars so Citigroup can keep its fucking name on the 21st century's answer to Shea Stadium. Where in the name of Ray Sadecki and Bob Apodaca is my bailout? (Ray and Bob played for the NY Mets in Shea Stadium - TWS)

Here's my point.
What do you remember about the first quote I copied, the one from The Volokh Conspiracy? Anything? Anything at all? Prob'ly not. The logic was flawless, the grammar was flawless, and the tone was polite. But it had no passion. The person who wrote it doesn't have any blood in his mouth.

Nick Gillespie is another story. What tax preparation software did Tim Geithner use for his falsified tax returns? What company is using your tax dollars to put its name on which baseball stadium? What percentage of income taxes are paid by the bottom 50% of taxpayers? And John McCain was called the ____ ______ of presidential candidates. I bet you remember most of what was written.

Or the NickM rant... Where does NickM live? What is Nick Griffin's nationality? What Latin American Beast Of Burden would NickM encourage to have unnatural relations with Nick Griffin?

One week soon I might stage a series of Sweet-16 basketball playoff style brackets between NickM of Counting Cats and Nick Gillespie of Reason magazine. Points would be awarded based on logic, creativity, disdain for The Remaining Sheeple, and contempt for Messianic Big Brotherism.

A lot of people object to the snarky tone used on the internet. Profanity is the rule rather than the exception.

But dang it, Barack Obama is raising the troop levels in the Middle East when he promised he wouldn't. He promised to Guantanamo Bay, and he probably won't. He's spending money at a rate that makes little Bush, Daddy Bush, and Grandpaw Reagan look miserly. He's still claiming that your taxes won't go up as a result.

Nick Gillespie is the one of the few print journalists brave enough to point out the obvious: Barack Obama is full of shit. He really is.

Is Nick Griffin a one-eyed Welsh git, as NickM claims? I have no freakin' clue. I didn't know anything about the BNP until tonight. But NickM hasn't led me astray yet, and NickM has now made me want to know more.

(I apologize for the overwhelming number of people named "Nick" in this post. It just worked out that way.)

Nick Gillespie and NickM are alarmed. Fire alarms don't have a snooze button. Paul Revere didn't ride from Boston to Lexington politely whispering so as not to wake the baby.

"I use the grotesque the way I do because people are deaf and dumb and need help to see and hear." — Flannery O'Connor


Dr Ralph said...

I'm going to offer an opposing opinion.

The so-called passion you describe has led to a general coarsening of political discourse in this country that serves little purpose. It's fun to read, listen to on the radio, and watch on TV, but it's junk food, and will ultimately make you intellectually fat and lazy.

It turns what should be important into entertainment and self-parody. Look at Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter -- that's the logical end result of the passion you describe. Keith Olbermann is the same deal. I may tend to agree with him, but I don't watch him: Anti-O'Reilly is just as obnoxious as O'Reilly.

Saying "fuck" a lot does not make you passionate. And I'm as guilty as the next person. But I'm not particularly proud of my rudeness.

Go back and watch this YouTube clip of Jon Stewart on Crossfire.

TomG said...

Right on Doc - I'll never forget my English AP prof who used to tell us to save the "f" words for when they of *real* import to expressing emphasis and passion, because most people who throw the f-bomb left and right unknowingly water-down its power to where it means not much more than "ummm." Rather it's best to treasure the word and save it so that when it's heard uttered by you, the listeners *feel* the power of its intended emphasis. Cheers, Tom

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Dr, Tom,

I don't totally disagree. The best thing I've ever been told about profanity is that it's a sign of ignorance or showing off.

But that's not my point.
This is my point.... Barack Obama has done very little that he said he would do, and he's done lots that he said he wouldn't do.

We will never, ever, ever pay back all the money he is now spending, and that he's preparing to spend.

Never. It can't be done. (So they're going to print the money, and to heck with the harm done by inflation.)

Let's assume that you both agree with me. How, using the tools of polite discourse, can someone get people interested in the fact that a Chicago machine politician is picking their pockets? I'm not asking you to agree on the goal, I'm just open for suggestions r.e. the methodology.

Dr Ralph said...

WS - presenting opinion as though it were fact wins few debates. And screaming more shrilly will not change people's minds. Documented information from an impartial source would.

Have you considered the possibility that people are aware of the facts of the case and don't buy your interpretation?

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Where do you think I have fallen into error?

Dr Ralph said...

...Getting too late for me...

If you want to call it error, you've fallen into error by (IMO) having a history of anti-Obama rants on a variety of topics, largely based on sources I consider questionable or non-fact based.

This makes me and perhaps a few others inclined to view everything you write about Obama with a considerable grain of salt. I'm sure there are still others who consider it gospel. Rightly or wrongly, even when you write something critical I might be inclined to agree with, I'll view it with skepticism because of the context it exists within.

Think of the little boy who cried wolf.

Is that error? You may not think so, but (I think) you asked for an opinion. Remember, I only say this stuff because I care...

TomG said...

My earlier comment Re the profanity rant, was just about that, and not about content - so that as far as that goes, I just came upon the following valid explanation for where things are likely headed ... in effect the nationalizing of industry (as with the State of CA no doubt):

Cheers, Tom

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Doctor, Doc, Dr.,

I think we're looking at some easily verifiable propositions here. The Obamaphobes in this post have raised three.

1) Will we begin to pay back the current debt, or print our way out of it?

2) Will he get us out of Iraq?

3) Will he shut down Gitmo?

I believe that all of these questions will be answered in the next four years.

Does anyone want to take the opposite side on any of these?

Dr Ralph said...

WS -- I love you, man. But as is often the case, simplistic answers to complex questions are not adequate. That being said, if you'll indulge me...

1. Too many fuzzy terms. How about we say: the federal debt is reduced to below what it was when he came into office, and the economy is in recovery? While you might find fault with exact methods, the proof is in the pudding.

2. A complex and unpredictable arena. How about: reduce ground troop levels to a range of about 10,000 - 15,00 for security, training and advisory purposes. That's about 90% of the current. Reduce our current budget down to a proportional percentage. Oh, and get rid of all the mercenaries like the Company Formerly Known As Blackwater.

3. Sure, but overcoming the NIMBY mindset regarding relocation will be a major challenge. I don't get that -- these prisoners are certainly bad guys, but they aren't Legion of Super Villains. The prison system seems to manage with all manner of other psychopaths and sociopaths.

Life would be so much simpler if we had a dictator. Not better, just simpler.

Guppy2 said...

same as it ever was, same as it ever was ... (repeat often enough, and the mantra will set into the medula as an automatic form of breathing) - or, better yet, has it ever mattered?
a serious question? Does it really matter?
a non-serious question, right? Like a mountain from a molehill (or more like a major premise from a footnote)
You guys are awesome - it's been real!

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I will ponder your predictions, and believe me, I appreciate the precision. Extremely rare these days.
I've gone off into wagers in Tuesday night's post. I might need you to drive by and verify the existence of a Pepsi machine.

I'll try to think of a way to pull yer specifics into another wager-style post.

Guppy 2,

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the moneys gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

Dr Ralph said...

And you may ask yourself/What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself/Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself/Am I right? I wrong?
And you may tell yourself/My god!...what have I done?