Friday, December 16, 2005


(Victor David Hanson, quoted from Instapundit:)
For some time, a large number of Americans have lived in an alternate universe where everything is supposedly going to hell. If you get up in the morning to read the New York Times or Washington Post, watch John Murtha or Howard Dean on the morning talk shows, listen to National Public Radio at noon, and go to bed reading Newsweek it surely seems that the administration is incommunicado (cf. “the bubble”), the war is lost (“unwinnable”), the Great Depression is back (“jobless recovery”), and America about as popular as Nazi Germany abroad (“alone and isolated”). But in the real adult world, the economy is red-hot, not mired in joblessness or relegating millions to poverty. Unemployment is low, so are interest rates. Growth is high, as is consumer spending and confidence. Our Katrina was hardly as lethal as the Tsunami or Pakistani earthquake. Thousands of Arabs are not rioting in Dearborn. American elderly don’t roast and die in the thousands in their apartments as was true in France. Nor do American cities, like some in China, lose their entire water supply to a toxic spill. Americans did not just vote to reject their own Constitution as in some European countries.

(Charles Krauthammer, quoted from Instapundit in the previous post:)
Lest you get carried away with today's good news from Iraq, consider what's happening next door in Iran. The wild pronouncements of the new Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have gotten sporadic press ever since he called for Israel to be wiped off the map. He subsequently amended himself to say that Israel should simply be extirpated from the Middle East map and moved to some German or Austrian province. Perhaps near the site of an old extermination camp? . . .


MeaninglessHotAir said...

these rantings are to shore up his support at home among his easily excited base

I'm sure Lindbergh was saying exactly the same sort of things in the Thirties about Hitler. "Pay no attention to the man behind the screen, folks, nothing to see here, move along."

Rick Ballard said...

"Wages nationwide haven't risen to match inflation for 5 years."

You're a damned liar as well as a fool Mark. Here is the BLS statistics page for Average Production Wages and here is the BLS page for the CPI Index . November is the last month reported and wages in Nov. 05 have increased 14.8% over Nov. '00 while the CPI has increased 13.5% over the same period. Wages have outpaced inflation by 9.8% over the previous five years.

The rest of your talking points bear the same resemblance to the truth as your first one. Your time here is growing very short.

flenser said...


mark comes here to spread his lies as widely as possible, not to engage anyone in debate. I encourage more liberal use of the delete button.

Unless one of our doctors feels that he is an interesting case to study, I think mark has worn out his welcome.

truepeers said...

Does Mark think either that 9/11 should have happened or that Israel should not exist? The favorite tactic of the immoral left is moral equivalence, because it is all worldly social differences that they are at war with, in the name of every potential identification of a "victim" of differences. They seek out victims and punishment for victimizers like the cult of human sacrifice they truly are.

But where would humanity be if no one ever made a difference in the name of increasing freedom and reciprocity/exchange? Where would we be if we all remained chained to sameness - i.e. the war of all agaisnt all - in the name of a fundamental equality such that even markyboy could not find a difference to bitch about? We would be detached from the truth of humanity, the truth that there is always someone who is closer to truth and freedom than others are.

In other words, we would be in the inhuman swamp, the heretical lie, where no worldly difference is supposedly allowed. But think about this: if no difference is allowed, who is making and enforcing this rule? Those who fight against worldly differences ultimately believe either in tyranny or in the war of all against all, a world where 9/11 is the moral equivalent of Israel. I'd say go to hell, Mark, but you're already there.

buddy larsen said...

I disagree--he's a window on the alternate universe, and good for us all.

For example, I'm STILL waiting for him to find an issue that is directly caused by Bush policies over his own--or, say, Nature's (as in, our poorest folks, even tho --except for the drug addled--have homes, cars, and TVs at a generation ago's middle class level, county hospitals, and are not in any case, according to the IRS, the 'same' poor folks as 85% on the lowest wagers moved up and out between the last two censii, are still, because of the nature of reality, at the bottom of the continuum, currently).

Right now, he's leading me to believe that there's not a *single* issue on which the Dems offer a better alternative to the nation (class-warfare, with some temporary "insider" political beneficiaries, will kill the golden goose for us all--and reverse that 85%'s direction).

buddy larsen said...

Truepeers--that was a most excellently lyrical post--the metaphysical passages, I mean--I've been groping for that forever and can never get it out into the words.

buddy larsen said...

Now watch mark spin my post into me saying "Oh, the poor are FINE, they're in GREAT shape, NO problem."

Rick Ballard said...


I'm trying to solve the puzzle of what target group is in play. Job absorbtion is fine, CPI is running about a quarter high but no big deal because productivity is higher and wages are keeping pace. The market is humming without getting too hot.

I don't know what either party is going to promise to "fix" next year. They're both afraid of social security and medical costs - aside from the fact that the general population appears to be fat, dumb and happy enough.

Where's the beef?

buddy larsen said...

Near as I can make it out, Rick, the beef is that every single person isn't the best-off of all, all the time. And that it's the government's job to empty out your heart, to make sure there's room to refill it with government joy.

So, right, pleasing Mark is not going to be *that* easy.

Peter, are you trying to tell me that meat can get too rotten to eat? Dammit--NOW I find out. No wonder that ex-wife of mine kept wanting a refrigerator!

Charlie Martin said...

As for Hansen, the Philly Inquirer's frontpage says there's 11,000 households getting their heat or electricity shut off this winter. Wages nationwide haven't risen to match inflation for 5 years.


And I'm sorry, but I don't recall "Federal Insurance Commissioner" as one of the President's responsibilites --- in fact, I think you'd find out that insurance is a state responsibility.

As to that NSA thing, let's find out what really happened: last I heard, it was intercepts of comms with foreign nationals. It''s an interesting question whether the NSA has that authority, but I don't think it's as settled as it could be. (In fact, if you recall Seneca's First Law of Intelligence Leaks, ie, "Really damaging leaks are lies", I'd be willing to bet it'll turn out not to be quite true.)

buddy larsen said...

Seneca--the release on the bill's voting day tends to buttress your conclusion. If it was serious, the oppo would've let it out a week ago, to build. As is, this is like the 2000 Bush DWI release, or the 2004 "missing ammo" release--to leave no time to recover toppled fence-sitters, and to provide an EZ peg to hang their hats on.

I say--let the NSA spy--the thing is auto-sunset anyway, so why give advantages to the terrors?

truepeers said...

Buddy, thanks, and as part of our quest to bring clarity to new ways of seeing, I'm curious whether this, from Prosperomakes a lot of sense to you: between a genuine sign [i.e. by "genuine sign", Prospero refers to the moment when a new sign is first articulated and accepted by the community in a shared moment of crisis, of lost meaning, and of a consequent necessity and freedom to again signify the sacredness that holds the community together] and its ritualized imitation there can be no real communication. Only the long, uncertain, arduous process (a series of events) in which communities engage each other through cycles of conflict, conquest and defeat, truce and renewed hostilities, mutual penetration and imitation, can transcend such distances. The understandable impulse, then, of the social sciences (and intensifying in the victimary postmodern era) is to represent differences between communities in quantitative and linear terms. In fact, the foundational method of the modern social sciences is to measure a given community's distance from its "mythic origins" towards the sceneless scene constructed by the social sciences themselves. Conflicts then emerge as a results of uneven development: one nation has to compensate through militarism for what it was unable to acquire through trade, etc. Serious conflicts, that is, wars, are then a result of the misunderstandings that result from each side's failure to realize that everyone really wants the same increase in wealth, scientific knowledge and social regulation, individual freedom, and so on. This misunderstanding leads each side to arm itself against the other, setting in motion a vicious circle, an arms race, a self-fulfilling prophecy, and so on. And the antidote, it logically follows, is offered by the social scientists themselves, who have transcended national loyalties and hence this entire set of delusions.

I remember recently reading a statement circulated around 1940 signed by a number of liberal luminaries (among them John Dewey) calling upon us to eschew a belligerent stance toward Nazi Germany--if Nazi Germany looked like a threat, well, perhaps that was because they saw us as a threat; yes, the Nazi regime was abhorent but would not our outright opposition merely strengthen it by rallying the German people around it?; we certainly prefer democracy, but didn't each people need to discover it for ourselves--and, besides, were we so certain about our own virtue? Have we dealt with the serious defects of our own democracy? Etc. I don't remember the exact context in which I saw it, but it was certainly a polemical one--the point, made quite effectively, was that the arguments haven't changed--today's anti-war left would have been against the "Good War" as well, even if that generation of liberals wasn't so degenerate, with few exceptions, as to maintain that position after Pearl Harbor (or, perhaps, the invasion of the USSR?). My point is that moral equivalence is the default position of the liberal intellectual and the reason for this is that if one side is unequivocally better this "betterness" is part of the basic constitution of the sign itself. The better side's betterness is in the homage it pays to the origin, which would make the modern social sciences impossible because they would have to drop the metaphysics
[i.e. drop the abstract, decontextualized - "statisticalized", "staticized"? - world of language, where all are potentially the same and none better] and participate in the scene.

Charlie Martin said...

Yup, sure enough.

"Some brief background: The Foreign Intelligence Security Act permits the government to monitor foreign communications, even if they are with U.S. citizens -- 50 USC 1801, et seq. A FISA warrant is only needed if the subject communications are wholly contained in the United States and involve a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.

The reason the President probably had to sign an executive order is that the Justice Department office that processes FISA requests, the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR), can take over 6 months to get a standard FISA request approved. It can become extremely bureaucratic, depending on who is handling the request. His executive order is not contrary to FISA if he believed, as he clearly did, that he needed to act quickly. The president has constitutional powers, too.

It's also clear from the Times piece that Rockefeller knew about the government's eavesdropping, as did the FISA court. By the time this story is fully fleshed out, we'll learn that many others knew about it, too. To the best of my knowledge, Rockefeller didn't take any steps to stop the eavesdropping. [So if there is any violation of the law involved, Rockefeller, and possible Kerry, are accessories before and after the fact. --- StY] And he's no friend of this administration. Nor is he above using intelligence for political purposes, as his now infamous memorandum demonstrates.

But these leaks -- about secret prisons in Europe, CIA front companies, and now secret wiretaps, are egregious violations of law and extremely detrimental to our national security. They are far worse than any aspect of the Plame matter. The question is whether our government is capable of tracking down these perpetrators and punishing them, or will we continue to allow the Times and Washington Post determine national security policy. And if these wiretaps are violative of our civil liberties, it's curious that the Times would wait a year to report about it. I cannot remember the last time, or first time, this newspaper reported a leak that was helpful to our war effort." — Mark Levin

truepeers said...

In other words, Prospero is arguing that we are not primarily motivated by a desire for the same level of social or economic development, but rather that our conflicts are rooted in the fact that we all want to be closer to the truth of the sign. We want to be closer to god, and we fight to assert and discover, as the Calvinists were wont to to do, that we are indeed true believers, and predestined by providence.

We are not engaged in conflicts around the world because people genuinely wish to reduce everyone to sameness. No, even the heretical socialists want first to be proven that they are right - and thus inheres the lie of socialist harmony. People only adopt others' means of social and economic progress to the extent they think it gets them closer to eventually being confirmed as the true believers who have come in from the cold of the margins to re-establish the truth of the center. The belief in moral equivalence is a tactic that even those who practice it don't really believe.

buddy larsen said...

Lord, I love performatism, it always finds the next frame, and the descriptions of the 'finding' read like stories--dramatic arc and all. If kids could get into the theater of metaphysics--and see the language as the second derivative of an actual movement--then social scientists would not feel the need to achieve any particular "direction" of history that is more or less--depending on resistance--impeded by an "enemy". Of course Marx was right about the tensions, but what he toally blew off was "what will deliver the goods that the masses want?"

buddy larsen said...

Seneca, it could be darker than we want to know. If the 'last minute leak' cites in my post were tactics with a goal (elect Gore or Kerry), then what is the goal of this latest? Please tell me that there is no unconscious desire to see Bush get a 'comeuppance' thru a big incident, in time for the '06 elections. Note, I said 'unconscious'.

Would dovetail to the "pet war in Iraq, while Americans get the shaft" meme.

truepeers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
truepeers said...

The truth is ultimately the unity of humanity and the conflict that ensues from this original unity, the conflict that follows from our common human desire to remain close(r)to the truth. The truth is thus the consequent necessity for freedom to maximize our abililities to find relatively non-violent mediations of our conflicts and desires to embody the truth. Hence the truth is both our original equality and the necessity of freedom.

The desire for moral equivalence is the desire to forget the need for freedom and difference because of a failure to understand the inevitability of conflict that ensues from our common humanity. We are all alienated from and seeking the sacred center or being on which our conscious existence depends. This search entails and can bear some fighting, but not too much. Don't let the lie that we can have peace and harmony forever grow too big, the bottled pressure build too high, or the fight that may ensue might be more than we can bear. That was almost the story of the cold war

buddy larsen said...

It continues, in a natural way--'a little bit" of conflict? Well, how much, precisely, asks the person either threatened or wanting to threaten.

"Who knows? Some."

There's no rule to apply--that's the whole point of pushing away distorted politics--that's THE distortion--and allowing the trutjh--which is gonna get ya in the end anyway--to get ya now, in the way that will open the natural channels that are there but hidden by the distortions--the natural channels that include the things we alas now see as objects, artifacts--the "virtues" that will make life better--truer--for us all.

Charlie Martin said...

Seneca, it could be darker than we want to know. If the 'last minute leak' cites in my post were tactics with a goal (elect Gore or Kerry), then what is the goal of this latest? Please tell me that there is no unconscious desire to see Bush get a 'comeuppance' thru a big incident, in time for the '06 elections. Note, I said 'unconscious'.

Well, if you want to start up a conspiracy meme, I'd note that Kerry recently made a joke about impeaching Bush in '06.

buddy larsen said...

"The desire for moral equivalence is the desire to forget the need for freedom and difference because of a failure to understand the inevitability of conflict that ensues from our common humanity."

And also just plain old laziness and cowardice. Without it, then the better-off have to personally act in some way that validates the higher position, or be a fraud, with a hereditary higher position that only exists because of the private property laws--that took us out of the dark ages and are needed to keep us out.

But 'moral equivalence' is a cut-out--one can then see everything as a flattened timeless object, and one's place on it as both a matter of luck ("not my fault") and permanent (entitled).

This works well for the down-market as well as the up-market; in either case it's Jungle Rule, might-makes-right, and all sacred conduct is a gifting from the uppers to the lowers (welfare) and vice-versa (civil peace).

This of course makes the sacred conduct profane (killing-with-kindness, extorting against system investment) but sublimates the fraudulence into a vague fog best endured via distraction.

Syl said...

I wish I had saved at least where I got it from, but I read that the Times was sitting on the NSA story for an entire YEAR and pulled it out on Iraqi election day (and Patriot Act renewal).

Doug said...

Is it in the NY Times story itself?
Haven't read it yet, but Limbaugh spoke of that this morning.

Haven't read all posts yet, but Peter's 4:21 PM post rings true for me:
All these things come up "co-incidentally" the day after the wonderful news in Iraq, just in time to spend the weekend blathering about BAD "news" about Bush instead.
...who knows how many times the Dems have kicked the can down the road in the Senate, so this crucial issue just happened to come up now?

Doug said...

Syl, he also said the 'Times blamed the WHITE HOUSE for the delay, since they were not for publishing it all this time.
...but then,

Doug said...

Should have put all 3 in 1 post, but that would have required foresight:
Rush also lined out the other companies that would follow suit, given the same ownership and all, including of course, a full hour on 60 Minutes about the book and Bush's evil actions.

chuck said...

Is anyone actually bothered by this? I don't have all the details clear, but it seems that the calls may have been made overseas. I rather like the idea that the government has been tracking these. It is not as if the world is risk free at the moment.

Syl said...

And Glenn is all happy that the Patriot Act wasn't renewed and that McCain won that torture legislation battle.

I'm too angry to do a post on it. For being such a hotshot law perfesser, sometimes I wonder about him.

How many times have I had to tell RogerLSimon that the library crap he rails against in the P.A. was already law? He has an excuse, though, he's not a law perfesser.

But Glenn's criticisms seem to be along the same lines. I guess he thinks laws fighting terrorists should be totally separate from crimefighting. The Patriot Act simply collected current law, made some changes and additions and ended up as the Patriot Act.

And if we can't insult terrorists, why don't we just give up the fight. Right. Now.

Syl said...

Oh, and his Porkbusters thing he's so proud of, well, he's mad at Congress and is one of those who probably thinks it's better if the Dem's win the majority in '06.

I wonder how he'll feel when the Dems institute impeachment proceedings.

Porkbusting is an ongoing battle, but the War is FAR more important.

truepeers said...

sublimates the fraudulence into a vague fog best endured via distraction.

-yes indeed; for illustration, I just did a little gift shopping and in this one store I was fiddling with a little wooden box, wondering what it was for and where the opening was. It turned out to be for marijuana cigarettes, and the storekeeper had to tell me impatiently how to open it without damaging it. Maybe he had to add a touch of hauteur as a way of representing the cool purpose and method of this box to an uncool fumbler who might uncooly reply that there's nothing cool about smoking dope. Not that I'm sure where to stand on that one.

buddy larsen said...

Syl--per Instapundit--look at trupeer's post way down at the bottom of Seneca's election-day post--the illo's post--'peers takes that attitude to task--and i bow-wow along behind, too.

Charlie Martin said...

Chuck, my understanding of it is that the NSA monitored or intercepted calls only if (1) at least one of the endpoints was outside US sovereignity, and (2) only if they had other intelligence to suggest the call ought to be intercepted.

Mark Levin at NRO (an actual attorney) seems to think that they're legally on solid ground.

Doug said...

Seems sometimes "former" liberals are only former sometimes.
The library thing and many other talking points are rarely used, if ever, and certainly don't constitute and eminent danger to our civil liberties.
If Dianne Feinstein's staff could find no abuses, I should worry?

I hate Pork.

Suicide for my offspring is worse.
No Dems for the duration, please.

buddy larsen said...

Mark Levin is one of the best of the best. You can believe it if he says it.

Syl said...



I have nothing against the Patriot Act.