Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Happy Winter Holiday

All my best to all who pass this way, and all who love them... May Christmas be as sacred as your faith and reason allow. Whether you find yourselves at midnight mass or going out for Chinese, may you celebrate with friends, family, food, and fun.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm letting those I disagree with be just as wrong as they want to be for the next 24 hours or so... Life's too short, and my faith calls for peace, love, and joy 'round now... May everyone reading these words get all of 'em, to overflowing...

Merry Christmas, and God bless...

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Right to Hate: A Study of an Accusation of Racism

As folks more than likely well know, I have something of a political difference of opinion with a guy. Over the last several years we have discussed and debated many an issue, but we've seldom come to any agreement. Perhaps we are just set in our beliefs, or perhaps each of us is honestly convinced that their own political philosophy really is better than that of our opponent. Whatever the reason, that guy and I are often at odds.

On occasion, and moreso recently, the guy has posted screeds or portions of screeds in ebonics, a faux black dialect.
“Black heritage. Whoo hoo! That is teh awesome. I goin' be try'n escpe from de massa's house to be goin' to dis heah black her'tge trail. Y'sm sir!" - that guy
While I cannot be certain of his reasoning, I believe he does so in an attempt to belittle and treat as ignorant urban black people--especially Obama supporters--for whom he has contempt, due either to their politics or their failure to achieve as he has.
Pardon my own slang here for a moment, but my daddy done tol' me dat Mr. Charley goin' t'own my po' llittle black ass if I didn' knows how be writin' in stan'rd English ... know what' I'm sayin'? And with a steady hand, mofo!. Miss Rondell's from Tupelo, Mississippi, but she might as well be from another world. And she don't seem so po' herself, considerin' all those ocean cruises she be talkin' 'bout. But I better be careful here, yo! Jes' be's messin' wit' dis heah stuff an' I be gettin' attacked as RAAACIST!! - that guy, again - his blog: Obonics
Whatever his reasons, I believe that in adopting this "ebonic" persona (and including references to drugs, gangs, fried chicken, lack of education, a slave mentality, etc, and also posting photoshopped pictures of Obama as ... well... see for yourselves--examples of both his "bigotronic" linguistics and photoshops also appear here. I invite you to judge for yourselves whether the guy is crossing the line.), he is perpetuating bigoted stereotypes about black people... and about conservatives.

Needless to say, posting my opinions about the guy's bigoted blog entries and commentary has not made him happy. And after a person using the screen name ThePaleScot posted this comment on someone else's blog to the effect that he was more swarthy than most folks with his particular surname and given name--names that're common in Scotland--along with the fact that this person has subsequently posted comments on my blog AND that I refused to renounce, denounce, and repudiate ThePaleScot for his comment because I'm not convinced that what he said was an expression of racism, the guy has decided to allege white supremacy on my part, which is kind of ironic, given the posts above opposing racism that lead Donald to make his specious charge. But nevertheless, accompanied by a Black Flag video and lyrics about the coming 'White Minority', as well as a really really bad photoshop of me in a Klan cap, posted in his blog's sidebar, the guy is pushing the RAAAAACIST!! meme in an effort to discredit me. (People familiar with the guy are no doubt aware that many of his posts decry these exact kind of "raaaaacist charges" when made by "the Left," and that he recently posted a link to his friend Troglopundit's blog, highlighting a post critical of bloggers and others on the right making specious charges about racism, which again, makes the guy's retaliatory allegation against me kind of ironic. But hypocrisy is as hypocrisy does, I suppose.) What follows is my response to the most recent of the guy's posts making this charge, originally posted at a blog that once was. (I have little doubt that it won't be the last, or that it's even possible that the guy will use this very post to allege white supremacy, the next time.):

Regarding that blog: The Right to Hate

That guy seems to believe that his calling me a racist somehow makes me an actual racist, like his words are magic, or something. Looking at what appears below, no other explanation is possible. When you look below the surface of his specious charge of racism, there is nothing there to support it. I invite you to carefully read his post:
Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt refused to sign anti-lynching legislation in the 1930s. Typical for leftists.

This is the kind of sweeping generalization that frequently gets the guy in trouble. "Leftists" don't typically do anything, any more than "Rightists" do. This bullshit racism charge isn't a right wing thing; it's this guy's thing.

There's no justification for what Roosevelt did, except to say he was a man of his time. There were a whole lotta Democrats and Republicans on the wrong side of civil rights for black people, and all too few Democrats and Republicans on the correct side. (For instance, the guy neglects to mention that the two NAACP members highlighted at his "justifications" link below as having tried to persuade President Roosevelt to sign anti-lynching legislation were supporters of Roosevelt. One of 'em even worked in his administration. So why aren't these folks considered "typical leftists" by the guy?)
I've been having a go 'round with Reppy's white supremacist blog, where he writes: "I only repudiate hate and such when I think something is hateful."

[The blog that once was] has been called a whole lotta things (mostly by this guy here, and mostly as speciously and "fact-free" as in the post I'm replying to), but "white supremacist" has never before been amongst them. Does the guy provide any evidence that [my one-time blog] is anything but friendly to folks of all races? Of course not. He can't. He's just doing exactly what he accuses "the Left" of doing, and yelling "RAAAAACIST!!" at the top of his lungs, hoping no one will notice he has no reason to do so. (This is far from the first time that the guy has simultaneously condemned and committed an act. Hypocrisy seems to come naturally to him. (Not because he's half-black, not because he's a conservative, but because he is who he is.)

The one thing he does offer is a single line from a comment I made: "I only repudiate hate and such when I think something is hateful." Follow the link. Read the comment. Ask yourself whether you feel any different. Do you repudiate whatever folks tell you to, or do you also think for yourself, and only call hateful that which you actually believe to be hateful? The guy continues his screed by saying
"That's what lefties do.,"
but I believe that that's what most people do. They don't give into the pressure of others and repudiate whatever folks tell them is "eeeeevil." Rather, they think for themselves, and make up their own minds.

In a different part of that same comment stream at my blog, I told the guy that "I think you believe the denial itself is the smoking gun that proves folks guilty. There is no shame or wrongdoing in denying a thing that isn't true. A Denial isn't itself a smoking gun." The same thinking applies here. The guy doesn't talk about what it was I failed to repudiate, only that I failed to repudiate it, as though that itself makes me a racist. It's hogwash.
Deny the hate and spin long, rambing and insane justifications for it: "That ordinary people did these things is deeply disturbing; that they manufactured a social rationale for their acts is more disturbing still"

I don't even know what the guy is accusing me of here--there's no connection between his description of the folks who supported lynching back in the 30's and my blog--but this is the chunk that contains the "justifications" link I mentioned earlier. Check it out, and read about those "typical leftists" who were on the correct side of history.
Reppy's Motto:

Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.

-- Robert C. Byrd, letter to Sentor Theodore Bilbo (D-MS), 1944.

Like I said, this guy has got to be getting pretty desperate to suggest that I have anything in common with segregationists, including the thinking of 1940's era Robert Byrd. The whole post pretty pathetic, but it's a good example of how far this guy will go. (Needless to say, I've got screen shots, just in case he ever comes to his senses and realizes that this post reveals a whole lot more about who he really is than it does about me.)
Previously: his blog: White Minority
I'm sorry, but who posted the white supremacist Black Flag video, and all the lyrics? Yeah, for all his bluster about [my one-time blog] being a hate site, that was that guy, on his blog. Make of that what you will.
"Your unconquerable strength is in your ability to express the truth. They despise you for it. Let them!"

And despise they do.
And what is one of this guy's posts or comments without a little dab of self-worship? No wonder he believes conservatives can do no wrong. He fancies himself a God, and since he's a conservative... well, it just stands to reason, right?

In the end, the guy is just mad because I believe that posts like these are offensive, both to the black people they malign and to everyone who believes that engaging and encouraging such tropes about black folks is wrong. The guy doesn't like that I had the temerity to call him on this crap. Now if you ask me, calling him out for engaging in bigotry against black people makes me a pretty bad white supremacist, but you're free to come to your own conclusion about that. So, I understand why he is angry, but the answer to his problems isn't lashing out at me with specious charges of racism for saying that his "bigotronics" posts are offensive. The answer is cleaning up his own house and not posting such things, anymore.

The choice is his to make.

Other posts, related:
his blog: Anti-Intellectualism and the Marxist Idea
Faith maintenance - Acephalous
his blog: It's Come to This: Progressives Reduced to Racist Slurs Against American Power
ThinkingMeat - More hilarity and hypocrisy from [him]
[the blog that once was]: The Pale Scot Affair

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dr. Fred Gottheil and Discrimination in the Middle East against Women, Gays, and Lesbians: A Statement of Concern

This stands a good chance of being my last post about Dr. Fred Gottheil and his role in fighting discrimination against women, gays and lesbians in the Middle East, or his role in attacking academics (by which I think he means liberals) for not replying to an e-mail he sent them, and thus standing up against said discrimination. That's not to say I won't respond to other posts on the subject, or that I'll stop trying to collect signatures on Dr. Gottheil's Statement of Concern, posted and hosted at the following link: Support Regarding Discrimination in the Middle East against Women, Gays, and Lesbians Petition (If you're reading this post--and we both know you are--and haven't yet read/signed the Statement of Concern at the PetitionOnline site, I respectfully request that you pause at the end of this paragraph and go take care of that now. The remainder of this post will still be here when you get back. OK, go. Thanks.)

For those who aren't familiar with the story: Dr Gottheil, an economics professor at the University of Illinois, stumbled across a petition written by Dr. David Lloyd back in January, 2009, which was critical of certain policies of the Israeli government, and was signed by about 900 academics, including many from the US, and even a few who taught at Dr Gottheil's university. (900 US, other Academics: "divestment and pressure" against Israeli "apartheid" - Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid). Displeased, he got to wondering whether these same academics who were so willing to criticize Israel would also be willing to criticize countries in the muslim Middle East for their violations of human rights. So, he wrote up his Statement of Concern, a four page document criticizing various human rights abuses perpetrated against women, gays and lesbians in the Middle East, and e-mailed it to 675 American academics culled from the 900 who had signed the "Israeli Apartheid" petition, asking them to reply back to him with the word "YES," indicating that they supported his Statement. The results were disappointing. 27 professors sent back a "yes," 3 or 4 more sent back "no"s (as well as nasty words about Dr Gottheil, he says), and the rest failed to reply at all. Dr Gottheil attributes the lack of response he received to anti-semitism and "sanctimonious bigotry."

From the outset I found aspects of his story questionable. First off, the initial stories were posted on far right fringe sites like FrontPage Magazine, that I've never found particularly credible. These are people who see Islamofascists and communists throughout much of our population, including in our government. They obviously don't live in the same America I do. I take everything they say with big grains of salt and a whole lotta skepticism.

And then there was the story, itself...
Why didn't the first stories about what happened include links to either petition, rather than thumbnail descriptions of each by Dr. Gottheil?
Why is it that he never released the names of the 27 academics who did sign his statement?
What about the list of people he was accusing? Rather than this vague slander of academics (which I'm pretty sure, is being used here as a code-word for "liberals")? Before jumping to any conclusions, shouldn't we try to get their side of the story, allowing them to explain why they didn't sign the statement? (Still curious about that, I intend to start writing these folks, to see if anyone on Dr Gottheil's likely list wants to speak for themselves.)
What about his methods, and how they may've affected the return rate? How did Dr Gottheil contact these 675 academics? How does he know they received and read what he sent? Did he follow up with them, and if so, how?
Since he was comparing his return rate to that of Dr Lloyd and his "Israel divestment" petition, why isn't there any discussion how either man gathered their signatures, or how long and hard each man worked on the gathering process? Did either of them enlist any help? (Fellow professors, a human rights or sociopolitical education organization, or even a public website)? What about each man's history of working on these issues? Had either of them gathered signatures, written anything, or otherwise been involved with divestment in Israel/human rights in the Middle East before? What is the history of the issues, themselves? How much infrastructure is already out there (knowledge about the issue, campaigns already in place, ???)?

In short, I thought that Dr. Gottheil's/FrontPage Magazine's/the rightwing blogosphere's explanation of "sanctimonious bigotry" and a double standard, as well as any suggestion that there could be no other explanation, was short-sighted and foolish, and displayed a willingness to accept that correlation proves causation (cum hoc ergo propter hoc), no matter what.

The questions above--many of which have not been answered, to this day--show that there are many possible reasons why these academics might not've returned Dr Gottheil's e-mail, and that there is insufficient evidence (at the very least) to show that the circumstances surrounding the gathering of signatures on each petition were sufficiently similar to make a valid comparison between the two. Signing one petition but not the other is NOT evidence that one cares about one issue more than the other. There are many reasons why one might've done that that have nothing to do with anti-Semitism, anti-imperialism, or support for Muslim dictatorships (e-mail ended up in spam folder, unread, e-mail thrown away unread by recipient, because they didn't recognize sender address, e-mail thrown away by sender after reading as hoax, or spam, or right-wing trick, or belief that private e-mail campaigns with no public website are ineffective, or... well, the possibilities are endless...) And, there are many explanations for why one petition might've received more support than the other that involve the way the signatures were solicited, rather than any animosity toward Jews, or love of third world citizens. (by a friend vs by a stranger, via e-mail vs in person or via a website, backed by a human rights organization and/or political educator group vs backed by no one, gathered by several people vs gathered by one person, petitioners asked to sign repeatedly (if necessary) vs only being asked once, with no follow-up, ... the list goes on and on...)

Unless Dr Gottheil or any of the right wingers propagating this meme can eliminate or at least account for all of the other variables, or can at least compare two sufficiently similar petitions and circumstances, they cannot claim that anyone has shown any double standard in this story.

Just the same, I also conducted an experiment. In the last week, I contacted just about every blog I could find that covered this story, and tried to post a comment at the post discussing it, asking that the bloggers and their readers sign onto Dr Gottheil's Statement of Concern, which I had posted on These were bloggers who obviously cared about this issue, because they had posted about it. And because the comment would be posted on their blogs--and in a good number of cases, had to be approved by them, as blog moderator, BEFORE it would appear), it was highly likely that they would see the comment inviting them to sign.

This is the comment I posted (It did vary occasionally, based on the content of the post or other comment(s), but this is the text I used as my template):
Dr. Gottheil's Statement of Concern is now posted at, and is accepting signatures from anyone willing to speak out against human rights abuses in the Middle East. As you're obviously interested in the story, I urge you to step up and sign it: Support Regarding Discrimination in the Middle East against Women, Gays, and Lesbians Petition

Of course, we'll be counting on everyone here to reply to this request.
Here's how I did:

Blogs that posted my comment (alphabetical order by blog name):

01) Media Backspin: An Experiment Exposes Academia's Double Standards Against Israel (Moderated)

02) BarkGrowlBite: LEFTIST DOUBLE STANDARDS (Moderated)

03) Look No Further - Big Citizen (Moderated)

04) Leftist Professors and Double Standards - THE BLACK KETTLE

05) Love of the Land: What Kind of Academic Signs These Anti-Israel Petitions? (Moderated)


07) carnage and culture: Australian Muslim cleric calls for a beheading. Who cares?

08) An empirical test for academic hypocrisy

09) American Thinker: What Kind of Academic Signs These Anti-Israel Petitions? - Comments (Moderated)

10) What bias? Contrary

11) An experiment in Academia | Wolfville watch (Moderated)

12) Elder of Ziyon: A unique experiment on anti-Israel academics

13) Shameless hypocrisy watch: “What kind of academic signs anti-Israel petitions?" - Los Angeles Middle Eastern Policy -

14) Leftist Professors and Double Standards - First Thoughts | A First Things Blog (Moderated)

15) Leftist Professors and Double Standards - FrontPage Magazine

16) Leftist Professors and Double Standards Part II | FrontPage Magazine

17) fousesquawk: An Academic Petition You May Never Have Heard Of (Moderated)

18) GeeeeeZ!: Larry Elder REALLY tells it like it is.........

19) An Empirical Test for Academic Hypocrisy - Grendel Report (Moderated)

20) Hummers & Cigarettes: Academia: Sanctimonious Leftist Professors (Moderated)

21) I Beg to Disagree: Academic Criticisms of Israel: 96% Hypocritical (Moderated)

22) The Day In Israel: Mon Sept 20th, 2010 : Israellycool

23) Academic Bigotry: Israel and the Social Justice Farce - The Lesbian Conservative (Moderated)

24) Leslie S. Lebl: Disrobing the Left (Moderated)

25) Lumpy, Grumpy and Frumpy: "They are sanctimonious bigots at heart" (Moderated)


27) The Fall of Human Rights | No Left Turns

28) Reverend Rubicon: Leftist Professors and Double Standards

29) XDA: Thoughts of the Day

30) “Fellow academics” call prof “master of the obvious.” | Right Wing News

31) Prof calls fellow academics ‘sanctimonious bigots’ | San Francisco Examiner (Moderated)

32) What's the difference between a highly educated bigot and a lowly uneducated bigot?

33) Stones Cry Out - If they keep silent… Social Justice Advocates vs. Israel (Moderated)

34) Our Man in Palestine - The Daily Beast

35) Considerettes - Conservative commentary served up in bite-sized bits - Social Justice Advocates vs. Israel (Moderated)

36) Leftist Professors and Double Standards Part II - THERESE ZRIHEN-DVIR, Regard d'un Ecrivain sur le Monde

37) Australian Muslim Cleric Calls for Beheading -- Who Cares? - Larry Elder - Townhall Conservative

38) Trees For Lunch: A Form of Bigotry You Seldom Hear of

39) Villainous Company: Quantifying the Hypocrisy of Lefty Academicians

40) Prof calls fellow academics ‘sanctimonious bigots’ | Washington Examiner (Moderated)

41) Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations: Not Everyone Likes the Jews

Blogs that failed to post my comment, or actually deleted it from their blog:

1) American Power: 'Sanctimonious Bigots' – Leftist Professors and Double Standards - 9/25 - *** Dr. Douglas has added several posts to his blog since I submitted my comment, so I reluctantly have to assume that he has rejected my comment asking he and his readers to step up and sign Dr. Gottheil's Statement of Concern. As he is both a conservative and an academic in the field of political science, I'm most disappointed in his obvious lack of concern for the human rights of women, gays, and lesbians in the Middle East. Given the chance to reply (figuratively, anyway) to Dr Gottheil's e-mail plea--a plea we can be almost certain Dr Douglas received and read--he chose not to step up, just like those "leftist" (and likely "nihilist" or "demonic," too) professors that he posted about failed to do. Double standard? You decide. ***

2) The Baltimore Reporter: Sally Quinn: Obama Went to Church Because Americans Are Bigots - 9/27 - *** - The Baltimore Reporter (blog) fails to approve my comment. Apparently, standing up for human rights in the Middle East is more of a rhetorical bit of self-indulgent pleasuring themselves than an actual, y'know, ideal that they strive to live up to. Meaninglessly denouncing the "evils of liberalism" for being hypocrites on this issue, while similarly being hypocrites themselves is just so much easier. And, in refusing to post my comment, they not only do nothing about the issue of human rights abuses in the Middle East themselves, they don't allow their readers to make the choice to do anything, either. Nice going, wingnuts. ***

3) DUFF & NONSENSE!: Humbug and humbuggers! *** Disappointingly, as of 9:20 AM on 9/25/10 (less than 12 hours later), this blogger seems to've deleted my comment, as well as the Blogger backlink to this post. How should we judge that, when evaluating this conservative's commitment to human rights? Duff sure seemed to care when it was liberal academics who weren't stepping up, but when it's his turn to speak out, he chooses not to do so himself, or to allow any of his readers the opportunity to do so, either. Hypocrisy? You decide. ***

4) It’s all about the hypocrisy Full Metal Cynic - 9/28 - *** - Given that there is a new post at this site, and my comment is still being held for moderation, it's lookin' like the chances of it's getting posted are pretty slim. It is indeed, all about the hypocrisy, I guess... ***

5) American academia: Condemn Israel, love Muslims | Liberty Pundits Blog *** 9/26 *** - It seems that Liberty Pundits here flagged my previously posted comment for review. Y'all see what I posted at all these sites... Is a comment asking folks to sign s Statement of Concern about human rights in the Middle East, at a post about that very same Statement, critical of the fact that a whole lotta previous folks didn't sign onto it, somehow off topic or offensive? Or is it that Liberty Pundits hates liberals (and/or muslims) more than they love supporting God given natural rights for all mankind? Hypocrisy? You decide. ***

6) Prof calls fellow academics ‘sanctimonious bigots’ - 9/25 - *** Rachel at 'Thoughts From A Conservative Mom' here, obviously doesn't really care much about the rights of muslim women or gay folks, because she chose not to allow my comment about signing Dr Gottheil's Statement of Concern to appear. Not only didn't she reply to Dr Gottheil's plea (very much like those "sanctimonious, bigoted" academics failed to do), she doesn't want her readers to reply, either. Let human rights be someone else's problem, I guess... Sanctimony and hypocrisy walk hand in hand, sometimes... ***

7) education teacher : As if we needed more proof that liberal academics are usually hypocites and bigots

While I did do pretty well on the comment end of things -- Of 48 conservative blogs/bloggers total, 41 posted vs 7 who refused -- I didn't do so well on gathering signatures from these conservatives (or their readers, even)... As of this post, I have a total of nine signatures. And one of those nine belongs to me. Very disappointing.

Now by the same logic that says folks who sign a statement critical of Israel but do not sign a statement critical of muslim countries are hypocrites and are showing a double standard, what are we to make of right wing bloggers who publish posts critical of leftwing folks who don't sign a petition, when they themselves also fail to sign the very same petition? Are they hypocrites? Are they showing their own double standards? Is this proof that right wing bloggers don't care about the human rights of women and gay folks in the Middle East?

No, of course not. Just as with the academics, there are all kinds of possible reasons these right wing bloggers failed to sign, that have nothing to do with bigotry, or not caring, or double standards of any kind.

And that's the point.

Guess who else failed to sign the statement online? Dr Fred Gottheil. That's right, the man who wrote and e-mailed the statement to these (liberal) academics--but none of his friends, co-workers, or fellow conservatives--refused to sign his own statement here online, where everyone could see it. He also refused to distribute the statement to anyone else, or do anything further in support of the issue he claimed to care so much about in his statement. What are we to make of that, I wonder? What was his motivation for writing the statement in the first place, and how do you think his motives might've affected how he conducted his experiment--methods that I've already called into question above (research bias), and how he interpreted the results he received (Was there confirmation bias)?

Had Dr Gottheil really wanted to gather signatures opposing human rights abuses in the Middle East--rather than "proving" the rhetorical point he came in with--he could've and would've done a far better job trying to get those signatures than to send out a single "cold call" e-mail to a bunch of strangers and not even do any follow-up to make sure they received and read what he sent them. It seems to me that he wanted these academics to fail his little test, and wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, they did. The only surprising thing about it is that anyone is trying to attribute these facts to causes other than Dr Gottheil's methods and motivations, and that they're presumably trying to do so with straight faces.

My previous posts on the subject:
9/21/2010 - Wingnuts & Moonbats: Dr. Gottheil, Where's Your Petition? - My initial questions on first reading Dr Gottheil's story.

9/21/2010 - What'd I Say?: An Open Letter to Dr. Fred Gottheil, regarding his "Statement of Concern" - More questions for Dr Gottheil.

9/22/2010 - What'd I Say?: More questions for Fred Gottheil, regarding his Statement of Concern - After the release of the Statement of Concern at FrontPage Mag, repeating the questions Dr. Gottheil failed to answer.

9/23/2010 - What'd I Say?: "If Fred Gottheil doesn't reply to my unsolicited e-mails, it's proof that he doesn't care about this issue." - My initial theories, and the transcript of a three part e-mail exchange I had with Dr. Gottheil, based on my e-mailing him the previous two posts.

9/23/2010 - Wingnuts & Moonbats: A Statement of Concern Calling for Support Regarding Discrimination in the Middle East against Women, Gays, and Lesbians - Dr. Fred Gottheil - My first attempt to get people to sign onto Dr Gottheil's Statement of Concern, posted on my blog. Many visits, but no comments, either in support or opposed.

9/23/2010 - What'd I Say?: Dr. Fred Gottheil and the "sanctimonious bigots" commenting at the Washington Examiner - More theory, and my first realization that all these rightwing folks complaining about the "academics" haven't actually done anything about this issue themselves, except bitch about folks not like them, and claim to be superior.

9/23/2010 - What'd I Say?: Attn Conservatives: You've (figuratively) "received the e-mail" from Fred Gottheil... How have YOU replied? Kinda the same post as above, better written, and submitted to a different blog.

9/24/2010 - What'd I Say?: In Reply: Why Dr Fred Gottheil's "experiment in Academia" didn't yield valid results - My first thoughts about comparing the number of signatures on the two petitions, and theories/facts regarding why one got more replies than the other.

9/24/2010 - What'd I Say?: Was I really unfair to Dr Gottheil? - My response to the suggestion that I'm being unfair to Dr Gottheil. No one has as yet tried to explain how... (including the blogger who accused me) ...but you're welcome to give it a shot, if you'd like.

9/24/2010 - What'd I Say?: Dr. Gottheil's "Statement of Concern" is now posted at - The announcement of the posting of Dr Gottheil's Statement of Concern Calling for Support Regarding Discrimination in the Middle East against Women, Gays, and Lesbians, and where I kept track of it all.

9/26/2010 - What'd I Say?: Still talking about Dr. Gottheil, at GeeeeeZ! (blog), this time

9/28/2010 - What'd I Say?: In Reply: Did Dr Gottheil's motivations taint his methodology? - Experimenter bias, confirmation bias, correlation/causation fallacy

10/1/2010 - This post, which will hopefully be the final one. I'll keep trying to collect signatures on the online petition, but I feel confident that I've pretty much buried any notion that Dr Gottheil actually proved anything about the Left, or the Right. (If ya ask me, all he proved is that he's either not particularly good at the scientific method, or he's a propagandist. I leave that for each reader to decide for themselves...)

Those who still wish to buy into his "results" anyway, ignoring all the facts to the contrary, are welcome to do so. There will always be some with perfectly good eyes who nevertheless refuse to see... They are likely beyond my helping...

Miscellaneous Links:
900 US, other Academics: "divestment and pressure" against Israeli "apartheid" - Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid

Democratic Underground - Here is the text of the Statement of the Concern - Democratic Underground

FrontPage Magazine

To peruse all my other commentary on this subject, previous and since, click here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Statement of Concern Calling for Support Regarding Discrimination in the Middle East against Women, Gays, and Lesbians - Dr. Fred Gottheil

While the majority of those who read this post will likely not be academics from American campuses who offered your names last January to a list petitioning President Obama to reconsider our relationship with Israel, I'm curious... ...liberal, conservative or otherwise, and whatever your career and position in life; would you sign this statement?

A simple "YES" or "NO" will do, though if you're willing, I'd be most interested to find out who would/wouldn't, and why/why not.

I look forward to any/all replies...

More info about this Statement of Concern and my take on all the controversy surrounding it can be found by following this link.

A Statement of Concern
Calling for Support Regarding Discrimination in the Middle East against Women, Gays, and Lesbians.

This document is not a petition. It is, instead, a statement of concern addressing the problem of human rights abuses that appears to be pervasive in the Middle East. Having offered your name last January to the list of academics on American campuses who petitioned President Obama to reconsider our relationship with Israel, we ask that you now join us in expressing your concern about human rights abuses practiced against gays and lesbians and against women in many of the Middle Eastern countries, including the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority. There are other gender-based human rights violations in the region but by concentrating on these particularly egregious ones, we will be able to focus support for the victims of these abuses, and perhaps in this way help change the environment that fosters such long-practiced violations.

This statement of concern, along with its list of academic signatories, will be put in the public domain; to be made available to our colleagues, to members of Congress, to government people in the Middle East, and to the media. To repeat: It does not call upon any persons, organizations, or governments to take specific action.

The information offered below is meant only to highlight the ideas held and practices condoned by people in authoritative positions in the Middle East. Documentation is derived from sources as widespread as United Nations agencies, survey research units, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, academic journals, NGOs such as Asylum-Law and Human Rights Watch, and from media reporting offered on the Internet, such as BBC.

Discrimination against Gays and Lesbians

Allegations and evidence of discrimination against gays and lesbians is compelling. Asylum-Law, an organization aiding asylum-seeking persons worldwide reports that treatment of gay men in Arab countries is particularly distressing. Punishment for acts of homosexuality varies. In Saudi Arabia, capital punishment – beheading – applies. Syrians convicted of practicing homosexuality serve three years’ imprisonment. Most other sources describe the physical abuse of and long-terms prison terms for gays in Egypt, the West Bank and Gaza. Specific laws against homosexuality exist in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, Sudan, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Syria, and Libya. The 2001 amendment to Iraq’s 1990 Penal Code made homosexual behavior between consenting adults a crime. The 1991 Iranian Constitution allows execution for sodomy. Specifically, Articles 108-113: “Sodomy is a crime, for which both partners are punished. The punishment is death if the participants are adults, of sound mind and consenting; the method of execution is for the Sharia judge to decide.” A documented testimony from a 19-year old Palestinian homosexual claims that he had been pressured by the al-Aqua Martyr’s Brigade to become a suicide bomber in order to purge his moral guilt.

Religious authority supports and even promotes these practices. According to prominent Muslim clerics, Sharia law mandates the death penalty for homosexuality. Among such authority, Cleric Sheikh Ali Amar offers that “Muslims believe that homosexual behavior is an offence against Islam and anyone who behaves this way should be sentenced to death without compassion.” Egyptian scholar Shaykh Dr. Yusuf Abdahhal al-Qaradawi, director of the Sunna and Sira Council, Qatar, cites Sharia law to declare that a Qatari Prince, ousted from political office on grounds of homosexuality, should be stoned to death. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of Iraqis’ Shitte Muslims concurs. Kuwaiti cleric Dr. Sa’d al-‘Inzi cites article 203 of the Kuwaiti Penal Code as sanctioning death: “According to Islamic law, a homosexual should be thrown from a tall building.”

Gender Discrimination

Gender discrimination – wife beating, honor killing, and genital mutilation – against women is sanctioned by both legal and religious authority and has been planted in varying degrees into cultural habits and institutions. The legitimacy and justification for wife beating is found in the Surra 4:34: “Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others … good women are therefore obedient … and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them.”

Various clerical interpretations of this Surra range from beating doesn’t mean physical, to beating means only open-handed slaps, to beating must avoid delicate parts of the body, to beating is a beating. That clerics differ on this matter is acknowledged, but the legitimacy of and justification for wife beating is nonetheless appreciated. Dr. Muhammas al-Hajj, lecturer on Islamic faith at the University of Jordan argues that the central issue is guardianship of the family and that domination and subordination are properly gender based. Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America, answers the question “Does Islam allow wife beating?” by replying that wife beating is permissible in cases of persistent insubordination.

Algerian-born Iman Abdel Qader Bouziane was expelled from France for advocating wife beating. Professor Sabri Abd al-Rauf of Al-Azhar University argued that the beatings are intended to instill fear. Sheik abd Al-Hamid al-Muhajir explained that the Koran stipulates when a husband can beat a disobedient wife. Sheik Muhmmad al-Mussayar, an Egyptian professor at Al-Azhar University describes what kind of woman may be beaten. Sheik Yousuf al-Badri, member of the Egyptian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, asserts that since wife beatings are noted in the Koran and Sunna, it “means we’re allowed to beat.” Egyptian Cleric Galal al-Khatib is straightforward and blunt: “only a rod would help.”

Advocacy for female genital mutilation commands less of a consensus; its acceptance and promotion stem more from social custom than from religious instruction. But its practice in the Middle East, once thought minimal, is, in reality, widespread and expanding and a matter of much concern. The UN Commission on Human Rights, the World Health Organization, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women report that female genital mutilation has affected the lives of millions of women in Africa and the Middle East.

A 2005 UNICEF report claims an overwhelming percent of Egyptian women have undergone genital mutilation. Other sources report 60 percent for both Yemeni and Kurdish Iraqi women. There is strong circumstantial evidence of its practice in Syria and Jordan. Whether religiously prescribed or not, among rural populations most of the perpetrators and victims of female genital mutilation believe it to be religiously mandated. There is also enough authoritative religious voice to validate that view.

Clerical and government opposition to female genital mutilation is growing in the Middle East. Witness the 2006 conference at al-Azhar university sponsored by 20 esteemed clerics with its president, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qardawi, concluding that the practice “must be considered as a criminal aggression against mankind.” Yet Professor Muhammad Shamaa of the university’s Islamic Research Academy said that “it would take a long time before such an ancient custom disappears,” and admitted about the conference: “We simply did not invite those who disagree with us.”

And many Islamic clerics and educators do disagree; among them, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi who stated that “whoever finds it serving the interests of his daughters should do it, and I personally support this under the current circumstances in the modern world.” Egyptian Sheikh Mustafa al-Azhari believes that the attempt to end the practice is a Western conspiracy. Mufti Sa’id al-Hijawi of Jordan declared female circumcision to be a “noble trait accepted by Islam even though it is not a necessity.” Past rector of Al-Azhar University, Sheikh Gad al-Haq noted that since the Prophet did not ban female circumcision, it was permissible. And Umdat al-Salik, e4.3, a much referred to manual of Shafi’i Islamic law, affirms that female circumcision is obligatory.

Honor killing – murder of a female who has allegedly committed an act that shamed her family – represents yet another form of violent discrimination against women. Male family members are judge and jury. The Islamist party in the Jordanian parliament condones it as part of Islam’s code. Egypt’s Ifta’ Council of al-Azhar University issued a fatwa stating that punishment for adultery should be left to the ruler. The mufti of Gaza, Sheikh Abd al-Karim Kahlut demands the death penalty. Jordanian minister of awqaf – an Islamic foundation – is more lenient arguing that “Shari’a is clear and she should be lashed eighty times. His colleague, Hamdi Murad, advises one hundred lashes for a first offence and death by stoning thereafter. In Saudi Arabia, tenth-grade textbooks teach that it is permissible to kill adulterers. Tarrad Fayiz, a Jordanian tribal leader explains its harshness: “A woman is like an olive tree. When its branch catches woodworm, it has to be chopped off so that society stays clean and pure.”

In Jordan, Syria, and Morocco, specific articles of their penal codes condone honor killing. Morocco’s Article 418 states that murder and beatings by a husband or by his accomplice are excusable if his wife is discovered in the act of adultery. Syria’s Article 548 protects the husband from penalty in cases where his wife or sister engages in adultery. In Jordan, Article 340 states that: “he who discovers one of his female relatives committing adultery and kills, wounds, or injures one of them is exempted from any penalty.”

In 2007, 21 honor killings were reported in the West Bank and 25 in Gaza. Saed Taha, dean of Qalqilya’s College of Islamic Law, criticized these killings on the grounds that they were not administered according to Sharia law. Although articles 19, 22, and 23 of the 2003 revised Constitution of the State of Palestine specify that women shall have the same rights, liberties, and duties of men, article 7 specifies that Sharia law is the main source of all civil and religious matters.

Most Middle Eastern countries adopted the 2006 treaty concerning discrimination against women, sponsored by the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women but with provisos. In the case of Egypt, the proviso addresses the relationship between positive law and the Islamic Sharia: “The Egyptian legal system is based on a number of legislative levels, of which constitutional principles and precepts are foremost, followed by legal principles. The legislative authority is therefore bound to apply constitutional principles when enacting laws. Any violation by the legislative authorities of these principles would be considered as flouting the Constitution. In article 2, the Constitution states that the principles of the Islamic Shariah are the primary source of legislation. They are an obligation by which the legislative authorities are bound when issuing laws.” In substance, then, the proviso undermines the force of the treaty

Express Your Concern

The referenced material offered here is obviously only the tip of the discrimination iceberg. As academics who have already been a signatory to a petition declaring concern for human rights abuses practiced in one country of the Middle East, please exercise this privilege to express your concern now about the widely practiced and condoned discrimination against women, gays and lesbians in the many countries of that same region. Please join us by affirming this call for support. You can sign on to this statement by replying to this email with a one-word reply: YES. Please do so as soon as possible.

Fred Gottheil,

University of Illinois,


For the record, I'm an unrepentant, unabashed liberal "moonbat," and I fully support this statement with a big ol' YES. I believe there are natural/God-given human rights, and that all people who are able need to speak up in support of them throughout the world. Right is right, and whether abuses are being perpetrated by friend or foe, we have an obligation to speak up and speak out. (For the record, I believe that the relatively less life-threatening--but still very serious--human rights abuses against the rights of women, gays, and lesbians in this country also deserves our voices and our support, and I hope that Dr. Gottheil and his friends at FrontPage Magazine and the American Thinker blog will agree to speak up for them, as well. I'm just sayin'...)

What say you?

Warning: Failure to reply to my post will be taken (by some--see links above) as proof that you don't care about human rights. (...or that you didn't actually read this post... ...or you don't have the time to reply... ...or maybe that you don't add your name to a stranger's blog, willy-nilly... ...or perhaps that you think it's a stunt designed to "prove" that one side of the political spectrum in America is somehow more "moral" and "right" than the other, and doesn't express much in the way of genuine concern for anyone's human rights... ... ...)

In fact, I really do support it, regardless of where it came from, or why... ...and I'm sincerely interested in hearing what others think. I look forward to any/all replies.

Dr. Gottheil, Where's Your Petition?
What'd I Say?: An Open Letter to Dr. Fred Gottheil, regarding his "Statement of Concern"
What'd I Say?: In Reply: More questions for Fred Gottheil, regarding his Statement of Concern
What'd I Say?: In Reply: "If Fred Gottheil doesn't reply to my unsolicited e-mails, it's proof that he doesn't care about this issue."
Dr. Fred Gottheil and the "sanctimonious bigots" commenting at the Washington Examiner
Attn. Conservatives: You've (figuratively) 'received the e-mail' from Fred Gottheil... How have YOU replied?

Also, Dr. Gottheil's Statement of Concern is now posted at, and is accepting signatures from anyone willing to speak out against human rights abuses in the Middle East. As you're obviously interested in the story, I urge you to step up and sign it: Support Regarding Discrimination in the Middle East against Women, Gays, and Lesbians Petition

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dr. Gottheil, Where's Your Petition?

In reply to this post, which tells the story of a right wing professor who saw a petition condemning some of the practices of the Israeli government, and that it was signed by over 900 academics--including a few from his own college--and wrote up a similar petition expressing concern about human rights violations in the Muslim Middle East, such as honor killing, wife-beating, female genital mutilation, and violence against gays and lesbians, just to see whether these same academics would also sign his... According to the story--as told at FrontPage Magazine, and echoed throughout the more reactionary reaches of the wingnutosphere, all of which should raise a degree of suspicion in the reader, given the sources--very few did...

Unfortunately, verification for any of it is hard to come by... From what I can tell, neither petition or list of signatures is available for the public to read and evaluate for themselves... You're just supposed to believe the story as written, no questions asked...

Anyway, here is my reply (submitted to the blog at the first link, above. I will also ask Dr Gottheil directly, should American Thinker approve my registration so I can post this comment to his post.):

Is Dr. Gottheil's original petition (with or without signatures) available for public viewing? I mean, it's a pretty important part of the story, but it doesn't seem to be published anywhere... All we have are thumbnail descriptions of what it says and the kind of people who did/did not sign it.

Before I condemn or praise anyone for their actions as concerns a given petition, I'd want to actually read the petition, so I can see for myself what they are or are not supporting... YMMV...

Though I'm not an academic, I oppose poor treatment of people regardless of who is perpetrating it. Assuming the petitions actually were as described, I likely would've signed both of 'em... I'd be curious to hear from the non-signing academics themselves why they chose not to sign the latter petition... ...but that requires actually finding and reading Dr. Gottheil's petition... Let's hope it becomes available...

Others asking the same questions:
I have two issues with Dr. Gottheil's conclusion. | FrontPage Magazine

Since you don't feel the need to provide or link to either your "Statement of Concern" or the Lloyd’s original petition, I can't see giving any of this any credence. - FrontPage Magazine

Also, Dr. Gottheil's Statement of Concern is now posted at, and is accepting signatures from anyone willing to speak out against human rights abuses in the Middle East. As you're obviously interested in the story, I urge you to step up and sign it: Support Regarding Discrimination in the Middle East against Women, Gays, and Lesbians Petition

Thursday, August 12, 2010

f*ck tea

Progress is the real American party.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

9/11 was in no way a defeat for the US

In reply to: A mosque that wrecks bridges - Christopher Caldwell - (and memeorandum), which says, in part:
"People around the world will differ over the meaning of September 11 2001, but there can be no doubting that it is one of America’s most consequential military defeats. It led to a stalemate in Afghanistan and a war in Iraq that undermined the US’s standing in the world. By providing another reason for low interest rates and easy credit, it helped spur the present economic crisis. Whether or not this was inevitable, it happened. Osama bin Laden’s strategic calculus – that the US lacked either the resolve, the cohesion or the cultural self-confidence to stand up to a mighty blow – has in many ways been vindicated."

9/11 was a military defeat for the US?

Is this guy kidding?

9/11 was a cowardly terrorist act but, as with Pearl Harbor, Oklahoma City, and other cowardly terrorist attacks perpetrated from without or within, at no time was the US ever defeated by the individuals and ideologies that brought them forth. Not for a second.

Indeed it is America's cohesion and cultural self-confidence that makes this mosque and cultural center possible, and if the author doesn't understand that, he ought to revisit our founding documents and our history of being able to maintain our pluralistic society, including dissent such as his own. The real defeat would be to give in and become less free and less pluralistic.

While I can understand the motivations behind those who believe that a mosque anywhere near the Ground Zero site is insensitive because those who perpetrated that act claimed to be doing so in the name of Islam, the rhetoric of many of the opponents (Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, to name just two) and the media coverage of the situation up to now would make canceling or relocating this project a propaganda victory for the bigots on both sides--those who believe and preach that all Muslims are potential terrorists would be emboldened, and those in the Muslim world who benefit from painting the US as intolerant and hateful toward all Muslims--indeed the very terrorist recruiters we seek to prevent--would use this episode as proof that they are correct, as well. The fact is, we in the US are not bigoted against Muslims or anyone else--though a few of us are doing all they can to make it seem so--and we cannot allow anyone anywhere to paint us with that broad brush, no matter what political, social, or religious ideology they claim to represent.

Given the choice between insensitivity (which, if real at all, seems largely unintentional) and intolerance / propaganda that we now face, I'd prefer we show a little insensitivity...

Also blogging: xpostfactoid: Christopher Caldwell girds for civilizational war near Ground Zero

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Some o' that Famous AmericaNeoCon Class: "Robert C. Bryd, Longest Serving KKK Leader in U.S. Senate, Dead at 92"

The body's not even cold, but some of the Con vultures are already diving in for their piece:

American Power: Robert C. Bryd, Longest Serving KKK Leader in U.S. Senate, Dead at 92
Byrd was 92 and the longest serving member of the U.S. Senate. A former member of the Klu Klux Klan and "Exalted Kleagle," Bryd was the only senator to vote against both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas for confirmation to the Supreme Court. As late as 2001 Byrd was known to still deploy the epithet "nigger" in political debate. But the Democratic Party and leftist leadership groups nevertheless championed racist Senator Byrd as a lion of the Senate. The man should have retired decades ago, along with the hatred with which he represented.

And nothin' but encomiums for Exalted Kleagle Byrd at the racist Daily Kos. Go figure."

Funny how so many of these folks claim to follow Christian ethics, but never permit a man to find repentance here in life. Once a sinner, always a sinner, regardless of regret, remorse, repentance, and many years of good works since (assuming being a Democrat isn't itself a sin to these asses.)

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Anyone who cannot wait until the body is in the ground before attacking the deceased is not a good person. Be a man Donald Douglas. Act like a human being, and let the bereaved mourn, at least. There'll be plenty of time to beat up on the dead body of Robert Byrd next week, AFTER the damed funeral.


Also posting (revised and extended, as necessary):

Dr. Douglas' fellow scumbags:
Moonbattery: Item #3: White Sheets to be Flown at Half-Staff Today
Ed Driscoll - Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) Dead at 92
Confederate Yankee: Off To that Great Klavern In the Sky
Robert Byrd, Longest-Serving U.S. Senator and Former KKK Member, Dies at 92 | NewsReal Blog
Rhymes With Right - Kleagle Bob Byrd, The Guilty Conscience Of The Senate, Is Dead

Human beings:
alicublog: A Little Respect

Originally posted at American Nihilist

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Oh noes!!! "Repsac3 Banned from American Power"

In a recent post, blogger Donald Douglas a.k.a. AmPowerBlog, a.k.a. americaneocon (No, there is no second "n." He's America neocon, or American eocon... We're not sure which) asserted and blurted Repsac3 Banned from American Power. Yes folks, it's official (he even says so, below); I am banned from Donald's public blog.
Oh, the horror.
Oh the humanity of it all.
Oh my God, he must be kidding if he thinks that's gonna keep me from challenging his neo/social conservative doublespeak whenever and wherever I deem appropriate...

Let's read further, shall we?...:
As readers know, I enjoy debating the crazy lefties, but sometimes things get out of hand. So, this is official: James Casper, a.k.a. Repsac3, is formally banned at American Power. Because he's so stupid, and frankly too easy to poke fun at, I've tolerated his trollery for years. But since he's launched an unprovoked racist attack on me as "Halfrican," that's about all I can take. I don't care who originated the term or who uses it. It's repugnant and I don't condone it.
Leaving aside the everpresent ad hom contained in any Douglas post, comment, or message to or about those with whom he disagrees, my "trollery" pretty much consists of replying to his posts very much like every other person who comments on his blog. (In fact, I think I'm less trollish than many, in that I don't often engage in name-calling or other pointless foolery. I simply dispute the post, and move on. That's not to say that I never call anyone stupid (or whatever), but I surely do so far less often than, say, Professor Douglas, or the Daves.) Of course, I am more likely than most to disagree with Donald (which appears to be the definition he's using for "troll," these days), but I wasn't aware that was a banning offense. (and if it is, it makes Dr. Douglas a coward.)

Now, let's talk "halfrican." First off, I referred to Donald this way two or three times, the last being on April 4th--so it isn't as though Mr Douglas is reacting to something that happened recently; While Donald feigns ignorance, he knows very well the point I was making in using Rush Limbaugh's term for Barack Obama, Hallie Berry, and others of mixed racial heritage (including, one assumes, Donald Douglas, himself), and that I stopped referring to him (or anyone else) that way the moment Donald admitted he found it offensive--which one thinks he would've done when Rush referred to him that way (by extension, anyway). Of course, he didn't. The point though, is that Donald may claim this is his justification for "banning" me, but it's pretty obviously a made up excuse. Personally, I think Donald just doesn't like that I don't accept what he alleges at face value, and that I tell folks when he's wrong or acting like a bully... ...even on his own blog... (Maybe so, maybe not, but I know what I believe...)

Most of all, I'm tired this idiot Repsac3's puerile gotcha imbecility. In response to my post on LBCC's communists, Repsac3's been trolling my comments,...
Trolling his comments... catching him in what was likely an intentional lie to deceive his more gullible readers... It's apparently a fine line, with Donald... (More on the likely intentional lie, below.)
...and left a link to the "One Minute for Peace" website; and clicking around there we find this:
Actually, what I left was a link in support of the assertion I was making which, because it was about an issue raised by peace groups (as was the false claim Donald made) appeared on the "One Minute for Peace" site. (I've yet to find the source of the original flyer to which Donald was reacting, and I suspect, lying about. Again, more on that below.)

I'm not sure what the video had to do with any of it--and while Donald included it in his post, he doesn't say, either--but it's a thought provoking video, nevertheless. The premise of both the site and the video is that it'd be a good thing if we spent more money on supporting peace--say, the amount of one minute-worth of the annual military budget (Annual budget=approximately 3 trillion dollars. one minute-worth of that annual budget=about $1.98 million). One can agree or disagree, but it's hardly a radical, dangerous idea.
One Minute for Peace is sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker "social justice" organization that has long been criticized for its communist affiliations and for abandoning its original religious principles.
Wow, a "social justice" organization. (in this case, a religious one.) We all know what that means according to Glenn Beck, and just in case we didn't, Donald comes right out and says it: Commies. (Will the McCarthyist red-baiting from some on the right never cease?) It's a neat trick Donald plays... If you follow the "long been criticized" link (to Wikipedia, which is seemingly only considered trustworthy by folks on the right when it says something they like), you'll note that for the most part, the folks who've "long been criticizing" the "friends" and suggesting that they're communists are social conservatives like Donald. It's like what FoxNews does... Report that someone or something is controversial, and then justify repeated hit pieces on that person or thing by saying that "some say" there's controversy surrounding them.

The fact is, I don't know much about the "Friends," other than that they're another "liberal" religious tradition, and thus not respected by some on the "religious right." (See what Donald had to say about Unitarian Universalists--my "liberal" religious tradition--in the "nihilist" sidebar at right.) But it doesn't really matter because, whatever the truth is about them as regards communism or whether some Quakers believe they've become too political and strayed from their religious roots, it doesn't make what they say about the US military budget any more or less true. Donald is creating a smokescreen. Commies or not, the numbers they cite from the US OMB are either correct or they're not, and suggesting that they're commies doesn't make those numbers more or less factual or accurate. (Finally, we're getting to the meat of the thing...)
And it's simply breathtaking the gross deceit these groups are willing to perpetrate. They claim that their budget estimates are from

"the proposed 2011 discretionary budget targeted for military spending."

But take a look at a pie chart, from U.S. Government Spending, showing the Fiscal Year 2011 budget. A full 56 percent of spending is designated for health, pensions, and welfare:

Welcome to the meat: Here's the story: In an earlier post, Donald mentioned seeing a flyer from a peace group that he says) claims that military spending is 59% of the US budget, and goes on to call that propaganda, saying that it's only 19% of the US budget. To whit:

(From American Power: Long Beach City College Premier of Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story): "Notice this banner at the table, showing defense spending as percentage share of federal expenditures. Communist demonstrators had the same banner at the March 20 ANSWER protest in Hollywood (and of course it's pure propaganda, since military expenditures for 2010 are expected to total 19 percent of budgetary outlays):"

Suspicious, I did a little research, and determined that it was likely that the banner was referring not to the entire budget--which would put military spending at somewhere between 19 and 23 percent of the pie, but discretionary spending, where is is indeed about 59% of the pie. I replied to his assertion thusly:
While I can't read the fine print in the photos to be sure, I suspect that 59% refers to the amount of discretionary spending devoted to military expenditures, as proposed in the 2011 budget -- (though I believe I also read that that was the amount of discretionary spending devoted to the military in the 2008 budget, as well).:
"59% is the percentage of the proposed 2011 discretionary budget targeted for military spending. This does not include all the budgeted spending, just the programs that get approved every year. Some groups argue if you look through the fine print of the budget that figure could be pushed even higher. It’s likely they are right.
This Federal Budget Pie Chart for 2011 uses figures from the proposal that President Obama presented to Congress in February 2010. You can see the plan online at"
- Budget Details : One Minute for Peace
You'll note that in the example above--from this current post, I mean--that Donald again ignores the fact that the "Friends" refer to "the proposed 2011 discretionary budget targeted for military spending." (though he does quote them using those words), and talks about/shows a pie chart of the entire budget. Sorry Donald, but they are still not the same thing, and conflating the percentage of the whole budget alloted to the military (or the percentage of GDP alloted to the military) with the percentage of the discretionary budget alloted to the military is dishonest and wrong. Try comparing the numbers that the "friends" (and the creators of that banner) were (likely, in the case of the banner folks) using, and get back to us.

Everything else Donald says in the post about the rise of entitlement spending and the decline of defense spending as a percentage of GDP, may in fact be true... (Perhaps I'll check it out later.) But none of that changes the fact that the 59% Donald disputed was a percentage of discretionary spending, and thus his claims of "propaganda" based on the whole budget were sadly mistaken at best, and itself propaganda at worst. (The fact that he's still trying to make the discredited claim after having the discrepancy pointed out to him might give the reader a clue as to whether or not it was an honest error.)

But back to the other point of Dr Douglas' post:
I rarely ban radical leftist commentators from American Power. Mostly, I'll moderate or disable comments if I don't feel like dealing with their stupidity (James B. Webb is a case in point). Mostly, I have fun with them for the sheer hilarity of it, and for the epistemological heuristic utility of obliterating the mindless left-wing/socialist ideological claptrap. And as we see time and again, leftists never seriously engage on point, but rather demonize, ridicule, and attack as racist as part of their ongoing program of intolerance and radical totalitarianism. I will continue to debunk and deflect all of this, since that's what I do. And I'll also continue the periodic back-and-forth blog wars as long as there's some fun or learning in it. But Repsac3's nothing more than the devil's frontman, and I've had enough. He's welcomed here no longer.
Here's the thing... As long as Donald Douglas is posting a public blog that accepts comments, I'm going to continue to comment on what he posts, whenever and wherever I choose. He's welcome to delete anything and everything I contribute to his blog if he so chooses--it is his blog, after all--but that won't stop me from making the contribution in the first place, and pointing out every cowardly deletion he makes (on my blog, I mean), as well. Folks are welcome to judge me as they will, but standing up to Donald's bullying ways has become a habit, and I'm not going to stop because he wishes I would... (Of course, were he to stop treating others so poorly, I'd have no choice but to stop calling him on his behavior and the mistruths in which he engages to smear others...) I think I've said it before... As long as Donald keeps acting the fool, I'll keep pointing and laughing at him. The other folks who're involved with American Nihilist (whether as writers, "fellow nihilists" -- other folks on Donald's extensive "enemies list," or readers) can do as they like, but I intend to continue exposing Donald Douglas for the man he is... ..."banning" or no banning...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

In reply: "Obama Calls In Riot Cops on Peaceful TEA Party Protest"

In reply to: SharpElbows.Net: Obama Calls In Riot Cops on Peaceful TEA Party Protest

Quincy Herald Whig: About 200 tea party members make their feelings known during president's Quincy visit:
"There were a few tense moments when the crowd moved west down York toward Third Street after the president's motorcade arrived. A Secret Service agent asked the crowd to move back across the street to the north side.
When the crowd didn't move and began singing "God Bless, America" and the national anthem, Quincy Deputy Police Chief Ron Dreyer called for members of the Mobile Field Force to walk up the street.
The officers, mainly from Metro East departments near St. Louis and dressed in full body armor, marched from the east and stood on the south side of York facing the protesters.
There was no physical contact, and the officers did not come close to the crowd, but there were catcalls and more than a few upset tea party members, including a woman who shouted, "This is communism!"
McQueen also assisted in asking people to step back to the north side of York. The crowd moved back, the officers stayed for about 15 minutes and left, and there were no other incidents.
"It's just a communication issue. We were trying to get them to move across the street," Quincy Deputy Police Chief Curt Kelty said. "We were just trying to move them back, they complied, and it was fine."
Several of the Quincy Tea Party members thanked Kelty as they left the area."
I know what I read in the local paper cited above, and I know that some, including Gateway Pundit, dispute the story as written.

It'd be helpful if someone had video of that point in time that's referenced in the newspaper story, to see where folks were, and whether the secret service and local police were having difficulty moving folks off the street, as is claimed.

(I'm trying not to prejudge the situation, but I also remember Mr Hoft's over-the-top reaction to seeing the Secret Service Counter Assault Team (Gateway Pundit: OBAMA SECRET SERVICE Pulls Guns On Conservative Tea Party Protesters In Bristol), who is at every appearance of every president, and does their job without regard to the politics of the person they're protecting, and my reply to it at the time: With All Due Respect: Re: OBAMA SECRET SERVICE Pulls Guns On Conservative Tea Party Protesters In Bristol. Let's just say the readings on my hyperbole/exaggeration detector are pretty high, right now.)

I'm not saying that those in law enforcement/security didn't appear to over-react, judging by what I've seen so far--though as I said, I'd like to see whatever video exists of that period just after the motorcade arrived, and throughout both songs--but I'm inclined to give LE/SS the benefit of the doubt, particularly as regards a political motive.

Revised and extended from a comment posted to Sharp Elbows on/at April 29, 2010, 1:40 PM (SE blog time)

Also blogging and h/t (May be updated, if/when I come across interesting reportage): memeorandum: OBAMA & BIG SIS Call In Riot Police on Quincy Tea Party Patriots (Video) (Jim Hoft/Gateway Pundit)
Osborne Ink - Nontroversy Born
Why Some Conservative Bloggers Should Take a Long, Cold Shower | The Moderate Voice
h/t: American Power: Obama Goons Send Illinois SWAT Team to Smash Tea Party Patriots!

In reply: Immigration: Apply the rules of the country of origin...

In reply to the following comment:
There is an easy solution to the problems inherent in immigration. We apply the rules of the country of origin to all immigrants seeking citizenship in this country. Say, whatever Mexico required for one seeking citizenship there it would be applied across the board to Mexicans seeking citizenship in this country.
It would be fair to all involved and would ensure that people in this country would be conversant with how other countries control immigration. Whereas a person seeking work would have a green card or what ever the equivalent paperwork required in other countries. It removes political considerations from the equation.
We could take other actions for those seeking political asylum, et al.
- Dennis - April 28, 2010, 7:26 AM comment at the post "American Power: Illegal Alien Superhighway"
Dennis: It's a neat rhetorical trick--and one with which I'd agree, believe it or don't--except that I wouldn't want American law to be determined by and at the mercy of the whims of the lawmaking of foreign countries.

If we were to get serious about enacting/enforcing laws and penalties against hiring illegal workers--against the people hiring them, along with the workers, themselves--I suspect that a whole lotta people who lack proper documentation would self-deport. (I'm a big fan of the E-Verify system, and would like to see it become mandatory for all US employees, perhaps under the tax code.)

Because I'm a liberal though, I'm opposed to denying health and safety benefits and protections to illegal aliens, or criminalizing the act of being undocumented in the US--the AZ law goes too far, in that regard--and I wouldn't be opposed to helping those countries from which we receive the largest number of illegal immigrants to improve their economies, so that there's less financial impetus for leaving one's family and home country in the first place.
Submitted for moderator approval April 29, 2010 9:58 AM (AmPow blog time)

In reply: Only if you're a tea partier... RE: Did the Tea Party win the debate over the N-word accusations?

Did the Tea Party win the debate over the N-word accusations? - Washington Examiner

No, I don't believe Breitbart and the Tea Party crowd have won much of anything, here. For all his bluster, @andrewbreitbart has no more proof that the incident never happened than the congressmen have that it did.

Sure, it would be nice if there were some kinda audio or video footage conclusively proving the words were or were not spoken, but I'm pretty sure that trees falling in the middle of the forest make noise, even when no one captures the sound on tape. And as the great 'pubbie philosopher once said, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

The eye witness testimony of the congressmen--and the tea party protesters, too--is apparently the only evidence there is, and after that, it all comes down to who we each find more credible. It's not surprising that for activists, anyway, the divide between who folks find more trustworthy falls along partisan lines.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

First you build the strawman...

"The current media talking point is that ONLY the Tea Party/the Right/Republicans/Conservatives are making threats, against Democrats." - ONLY the Right huh? - The Daley Gator

I won't go so far as to say that no media personality anywhere has made any such claim, but I submit that there are very few who have, and that they're likely not serving a major market... In short, contrary to the claim of this blogger--as well as others who are spinning the case that liberal violence, vandalism, and bigotry are treated differently than conservative violence, vandalism, and bigotry, background circumstances being equal... or somewhere close to equivalent, anyway--it's far from a media talking point.

I asked the blogger who posted that whether he'd be willing to quote a few of those media talking heads saying that ONLY the right are making threats in a comment early yesterday morning, saying:
I take issue with your premise…

Any chance you might provide a few quotes of individuals in the media saying that ONLY the right engage in this behavior? Because I’ve heard a good bit of “the other side does it, too” from the reportage, even involving instances where the broken glass/nasty phone message/cut gas line about which they’re reporting is only found on one side of the equation…

I submit that, when the terms are the same, anyway, the media reports/doesn’t report pretty much evenly. (By which I mean that no, threatening verbiage against Breitbart won’t get the same coverage as threatening verbiage against an elected official, but when it’s elected official / elected official — say Cantor vs Stupak — the amount/degree of coverage is pretty similar.) - ONLY the Right huh? - The Daley Gator, March 31, 2010 at 5:04 am comment
but so far, there's been no response.
Let's go to the video tape:

A collage of Tea Party activist signage over the past year:

A collection of anti-war protester signage and spoken word collected while Bush was in office:

Anyone see a substantial difference between the extremist nutjobs on the left and the extremist nutjobs on the right? I don't, but some folks on the right sure seem to...

Evan Coyne Maloney, the man who created the latter video, had this to say:
Not too long ago, taking to the streets to protest your government was considered a patriotic act.
What we said, if I'm not mistaken, was that it wasn't an anti-American act, and that this country was founded on dissent. Protest pretty much always has been patriotic, but that doesn't mean protesters are free to say and do anything they wish without facing criticism from the rest of us or legal action when appropriate. The impulse and the act of protesting is patriotic; bigotry, violence, and vandalism however, are not patriotic acts, even when committed at otherwise patriotic, all-American events.
But it seems that publicly airing your grievances stopped being patriotic right around noon on January 20th, 2009.

Once President Obama was sworn in, protesting became incitement to violence.
Of course that's ridiculous... It's not protesting against this or any President or policy that's potentially dangerous, but what some fools say and do at protests and elsewhere that may incite violence and other bad acts...
If you’ve opened up a newspaper or watched a cable news program in the past week or so, you’ve probably seen members of the media painting Tea Party activists as dangerous bigots. That’s because disagreeing with President Obama on issues like government spending and high taxes makes you a racist, you see.
What you've seen for the most part is members of the media highlighting individual Tea Party activist words and deeds that they believe have been dangerous or bigoted, as well as other members of the media ignoring or papering over those "few bad apples" and defending the Tea Party as a whole. Disagreeing with the President on the issues has never made anyone a racist. Expressing disagreement with the President on the issues in racist terms however, has.
What’s interesting about the media’s latest freak-out is that there were radicals a-plenty under President Bush. They protested in the streets. They talked openly about revolution and killing. But oddly, the violent imagery used by people claiming to be advocates for peace never registered with the media. They were too busy fawning over Cindy Sheehan.
More whining victimhood about a media that hates conservatives...
Yes, there were protesters (and radicals, too) under President Bush, just as there are under President Obama. And yes, the Tea Party reactionaries and their bigoted, violent imagery has gotten more attention than the anti-war radicals and their violent imagery. But that's because the Tea Party movement as a whole has gotten more media coverage. (Does anyone remember an hour long CNN special on anti-war protesters, where representatives were able to come in and express their views, unfiltered? Yeah, me neither...)
Why the difference in coverage? Did the media cheerlead the protests against President Bush to hurt him politically? Are they trying to marginalize the increasingly powerful Tea Party movement because they favor President Obama’s agenda?
The difference in coverage of the Tea Parties in general isn't very difficult to explain... (It has to do with the fact that one of the organizers is a lobbyist and former US House Majority leader... Just a guess...) And cheerleading? FoxNews hosts fanned out and became featured speakers at Tea Party events throughout the country, running free advertising for Tea Party events for weeks, as well. (It's one thing to cover the story; it's quite another to be the story...) Show me a mainstream news source that did anything like that for anti-war events.

As for why the bigotry and vandalism is getting more coverage, I think that also has to do with who the victims of the behaviors are... Call a former civil rights leader and current US congressman a nigger, and/or spit on the guy, and it's going to make news... When there's a rightwing nut on the internet who suggests breaking the windows at Democratic congressional district offices to protest the passage of healthcare reform--and then there's a series of broken windows at Democratic congressional district offices--the media is going to notice and report on it. First black President as monkey? As witch doctor? Watermelons growing on the Whitehouse lawn? I'm sorry, man, but that stuff is clearly bigotry, and like it or not, it's going to make a difference to we citizens, both in and out of the media...

Yes, Dubya was portrayed as a smirking chimp too, and yes, it wasn't very nice when individuals on the left did it to him, either--but anyone who doesn't understand the difference between portraying a white man as a monkey and a black man as the very same monkey just doesn't have the intelligence one needs to speak in public... It'll be a great day when protesters can portray anyone of any race as a monkey and have everyone take it as a comment on the person's intelligence or protrusive ears, and not a comment about race, but we just ain't there yet...
One thing’s for sure: If there is such a thing as dangerous rhetoric, then the media is at least one president too late in reporting the story.
There is such a thing as dangerous rhetoric, and both videos above show some... If it's wrong to demonize the president by comparing him to Hitler, it's wrong to demonize the president by comparing him to Hitler... Two wrongs apparently do make a right to some folks, though... If your first response to seeing bigoted signs being held by your own side is to point to bigoted signs being held by the other side, there's something wrong with you. (Now, if you can show me a guy holding a BusHitler sign in 2004 saying that tea baggers holding Hitlerbama signs are crossing the line, I'll join you in condemning the hypocrisy and double talk bullshit of that asshole...)

Free speech is a wonderful thing; you can learn a lot about your fellow Americans by really listening to what they have to say, good or bad.

Oh look... Donald Douglas at American Power has added his two bits: BUSH = HITLER: The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same...
[Evan Coyne Maloney] is therefore in a good position to recall the signs and symbols of the left-wing opposition to the Bush administration's post-9/11 national security policies. How do they compare to the Tea Party protesters expressing their opposition to Barack Obama's program of national socialism?

Evan has now produced a timely new video splicing together footage that he calls "A trip down memory lane." He describes it as four minutes of nonstop examples of violent imagery and extremist rhetoric employed by left-wing anti-Bush protesters. He writes: "For some reason, despite it being well documented at the time by me and many others, the media chose to ignore it." Indeed.
Here's another photo of the BUSH = NAZI ideological demonization from March 20, in Hollywood:
"Stop Bussh"s Terrorism" (with nazi SS's, natch) photo cut
Recall that "SS" stands for "Schutzstaffel," Hitler's paramilitary security state within the state.
Plus, posted previously, "BOOSH," the racist Bush slur.:
(This one you had to see...)

Racist Bush slur?

Maybe I'm just not smart enough to understand the subtle workings of the neocon mind, but that sure looks like an explosion to me... You know... Boom!!?!

Boosh!! go the bunker-busters!!

(As near as I can figure it, Dr Douglas is trying to say this Boosh! sign has something to do with the internet term "Joooos," which I'm pretty sure is a pronunciation thing--often used by Cons like Donald, very much the same way they've taken to using "raaaaacist" of late--to refer to folks on the left who they claim are anti-semitic -- which begs the question as to why an anti-semite would be making fun of himself by using the term... But I didn't major in neocon logic. (I think I read on a wingnut blog somewhere that the term neocon is itself anti-semitic... Which'll be news to Dr Douglas (Americaneocon), I'm sure... unless it's one of those "it's only ok when WE do it," things... like these Nazi/Hitler references, apparently...) ((Neat how I got back on topic there, eh?))

One more thing you probably ought to know about the picture I posted and the one I didn't... They were back to back, on the same sign. So even assuming Boosh!! is in some way a bigoted thing to say, it only counts as one bad liberal apple, not two...
When it comes to the Democrats, I'm ashamed for my country. But I'm not resigned. The tea parties are the salvation of democracy.

And since I know lefties will say "both sides do it." .... No, sorry, there's nothing -- absolutely nothing -- comparable to the secular demonization and violent rhetoric against the GOP during the Bush years, and it contiues today.
Ashamed of your country, Donald?... I seem to recall you having quite the little hissyfit when the First lady said that... Guess it's ok to say, now that a Republican is no longer President. (Con "rules for thee, but not for me," section 102)

And while I understand that YOU feel that conservative Tea Party Hitler signs are completely different from liberal/anarchist/libertarian anti-War Hitler signs, your feeling that way just doesn't make it so... Unless I miss my guess, most people will think all Hitler signs and other over the top, bigoted, violent exhortations are pretty bad no matter which side is responsible for 'em or what you happen to believe about any of it, but I guess only time will tell...

Also blogging:
Evan Coyne Maloney’s Trip Down Memory Lane : Founding Bloggers
Hate, Violence, and a Short Memory - The Republican Heretic