Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Comment Rescue: Noman and the things we should all be denouncing

In the ongoing Delaware blogging tiff in which jason at DL accused Dave at DP of supporting GOP agitprop by discussing 10th Amendment resolutions and then linking that to the PA shooting of three cops--to which Dave responded by categorizing jason as human garbage, there emerged this really interesting comment by Delaware Politics commenter Noman, who was (I think) trying to list all the false charges that anybody who is not a progressive or liberal Democrat should be consistently rebuking.

It's an interesting list, and worth repeating:

But we don’t have to wait for the politicians. You and I can start right here by calling bullshit every time someone says:

Obama isn’t a citizen

Obama is a Muslim

Obama is an angry black nationalist

Obama is anti-American

Obama is raising your taxes

Obama wants to confiscate your guns

Obama wants to take your child to reeducation camps

Obama wants to replace US currency

Obama is a terrorist sympathizer

Obama is violating the (x)th Amendment

“They must be stopped”

“We surround them”

If you want to be “center right” you need to earn it.

Two initial comments: (1) I don't aspire to be center/right. If anything I am generally considered a left Libertarian, but Delaware Liberal carries my blog as conservative, but I'm not a Democrat, a liberal, or a progressive, so I guess he's also talking to me. (2) If I, or anyone else, called bullshit every single time somebody raises one of these issues we'd get to write about nothing else. So my standard is to have gone on record consistently against an issue; I don't promise you every time someone says, "Show me the birth certificate" that I'm going to take time to post about it.

Having said that, let's go down the list:

Obama isn’t a citizen: done it; condemned it in several posts, and have even gotten into pissing contests with other Libertarian blogs about it.

Obama is a Muslim: ditto.

Obama is an angry black nationalist: I was the first and to date only Delaware blogger of any political persuasion to run a post (and stand by it) saying that Obama should not dis-own Reverend Wright, and asserting that black liberation theology was a legitimate Christian variant.

Obama is anti-American: rebutted on many occasions, even though I differ with him profoundly on what will be good for America.

Obama is raising your taxes: Sorry, Noman, this is a policy issue--and President Obama is raising my taxes (or, with cap and trade, health care, etc. etc., has plans to do so). To point out that fact is within the bounds of reasonable political discourse.

Obama wants to confiscate your guns: I have covered my disagreements with his gun control policies, but (again) I courted severe criticism from other Libertarians for saying Obama wasn't coming for everybody's guns. There is a fine line here between policy and nuttery with the 2nd Amendment that goes far left and far right.

Obama wants to take your child to reeducation camps: to date I am the only Delaware blogger to run an independently researched debunking of the FEMA camps myth. But that doesn't mean I can't disagree with the Obama/Emmanuel call for mandatory national service.

Obama wants to replace US currency: I've run posts carefully examining the proposed IMF international reserve currency and what it means in geopolitical terms, while taking gleeful swipes at Michelle Bachmann. Good enough for you?

Obama is a terrorist sympathizer: if anything, I have criticized Obama for being too much like Bush when it comes to actual tactics, both legal and military.

Obama is violating the (x)th Amendment: Another policy argument. The telecom positions taken by AG Holder, the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, and the Obama administration's insistence that the judiciary has no right to review its decisions on excluding evidence from Gitmo trials are all at least potential violations of the 4th and 5th Amendments, and I will continue to discuss them. I'm not a 10th Amendment fetishist in the sense that you talk about in other comments, nor do I condone those folks who believe the 14th Amendment was never ratified.

“They must be stopped”: Too vague to really be useful unless accompanied by something more specific.

“We surround them”: I have tried to understand the fears of the people being sucked into this, but I have also ridiculed it extensively.

You want proof? Sorry. Go check the archives; it's all there. If you look and don't find it--ask specifically.

Here's the point: neither I nor Dave Burris nor Mike Matthews nor Dana Garrett need to earn anything from people of different political persuasions. We put our views out there on a daily basis, and to those of you with the everybody who disagrees with us needs to prove their intellectual bonafides attitude it doesn't matter.

It will never matter.

Because deep at heart many (not all) progressive and liberal bloggers in Delaware and across the nation do not accept any other intellectual/political points of view as legitimate--and feel just as free to impugn the patriotism, ethics, or intellect of anybody who refuses to accept an argument on their terms as the worst of the right-wing noise machine.

There is a difference--I am not making an equivalency argument here: in any populist rhetoric there is always the veiled appeal to classism, to prejudice, to implied violence. The original Populist movement, which today is regarded as a pretty leftist phenomenon, was riddled with racism. The original Progressives made all sorts of truly offensive assumptions about certain socio-economic strata of American citizenry, and wanted to take their decision-making powers away from them (for their own good).

Right-wing radical populism, which is what we're seeing now, almost always produces more individual political violence than left-wing radical populism (the sixties were a notable exception).

One of the key elements of paranoia in radical populism is the fear that your opponents are organizing the resources of the State to get you.

The problem: Dubya--himself a radical right-winger--created many of the necessary mechanisms for the State to do so, and the Obama administration shows little or no inclination to dismantle these powers. It has, in fact, gone to court to maintain several of them.

To people who are already disaffected and suspicious, this seems like an overt act in and of itself.

But to many of our liberal and progressive friends it now appears that the best way to advance their agenda is to tar anybody who disagrees with them as part of the disintegrating Old Confederacy and Buffalo Commons (the GOP) as either advocating or tacitly supported violence and prejudice.

Meanwhile, ask yourself: where in the Delaware blogosphere have there been substantive, policy-based criticisms of the Obama foreign policy? Not at DL. Where have there been serious non-Keynesian analyses of Obama's proposed economic policies? Not at DL.

Noman, unfortunately, it doesn't matter whether or how many times Dave Burris denounces Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck.

It only pretty much matters that he opposes EFCA. It only matters that he opposes massive stimulus spending. It only matters that he favors following legal strategies to restrict the growth of Federal power. It only matters that he thinks Governor Markell should have gotten rid of about 1,000 State workers hired during the Minner administration. It only matters that he opposes the current prevailing wage policy.

These opinions--and not any real or perceived support for anti-government violence--are what make him the target for individuals who are not happy with countering his policy arguments, but who instead resort to distorting what he writes in order to suggest that anyone who holds those positions is, in fact, dangerous.

Oh, and as for Dave's little comment that it's a good thing the law restricts him from going after jason in some substantive physical way, I love the hypocrisy of the critics.

What Dave essentially said is: You made me so angry that I really want to punch you out, but the law deters me from doing so.

Really, really dangerous stuff that: I get mad but I obey the law.

Obviously the man is out there fomenting revolution.

As am I.


pdsa said...

While agreeing with almost everything you posted here; I still would advise a bit of caution drawing conclusions from Obama's DOJ backing previous DOJ determinations in preexisting cases presently in the Federal Judiciary Docket. There are sound reasons why a newly elected President should not come into office as destroyer of the previous Administration; and why new appointees at the DOJ should attempt a semblance of continuity in positions from the past, which are presently being adjudicated. It also bears noting that the Executive Branch should not be in the business of investigating the previous presidential administration's actions, on its own initiative alone. That would only assure the future will bring us outrageous partisanship when a different party took control of the White House. It is Congress' duty to investigate the travesties of the Bush Administration.

As to the DOJ's embrace of the Bush DOJ's previously filed positions in ongoing Federal Court trials; the litmus test should be whether the Obama DOJ appeals cases decided in opposition to those positions. Judge John D. Bates', April 2, 2009, Memorandum Opinion, holding that some detainees held at the US military base in Bagram, Afghanistan, have a right to habeas corpus appeals to their detentions in the Federal Court system, strikes me as an excellent test case. If the Obama DOJ appeals this decision, then they damn themselves for this act, but if they instead do not appeal it, they have allowed the Judicial Branch to do its job properly, without interference from the Executive Branch.

Anonymous said...

Steve: i agree with most everything you have written as well. This left right paradigm is what is destroying this country. The Labeling and those who label themselves have a built in bias that prevents them from critical thinking.

Obama's bankster zombie banks, his pick of Geithner and his lies and distortions is not good for this country. I agree with Krugman and Stigletz. There was no reason to give the banks a bail out, there are only about 5 of them in serious trouble. Geithner is part of the problem and cannot be the solution. They are not going to regulate the banksters, they are trying to shore up the ponzi schemers, and are not telling the american people the truth. Now over at DL....to hold an opinon like that, means to them...he/she is a republican and therefore their opinion not worthy.

These are "liberals" in the truest sense....they are middle of the road democrats. They support their party, and will rarely ever expose the weaknesses in that party.

I think Eric Holder letting Stevens go...was a great miscarriage of justice.Don Seigleman was set up and jailed for Karl Roves lies....but Holder hasnt come to his aid.

Obamas going deeper in Afganistan his continuing to spy on american people, he has never recinded the Patriot Act or restored Habeus Corpus...these are the signs that his is a president of change....so far, his "change" has been small things, or big want to do's.

Anonymous said...


I appreciate your perspective, particularly your take on Rev. Wright as you summarized.

But I am going to criticize the last part of your post regarding Burris' statement to Jason "You should thank your God there are laws protecting you from me right now and that I follow those laws."

You're indulging in classic spinning when you say "What Dave essentially said is: You made me so angry that I really want to punch you out, but the law deters me from doing so."

Horse hockey. He didn't say that at all.

Burris meant what he said in that post and he was "really comfortable with all of it" even the next day. Yes, he tried to clarify that particular statement after he was called on it by me, but that whole post revealed a pretty disturbing personality.

You can try to spin it to fit whatever preconceived notions that you want to have about him, but you're being very disingenuous to do so. The man is a writer, he chose his own words, and he stands by them. You don't need to be his apologist.

Besides, if you can't see the irony of a right wing blogger wishing he could cause personal harm to a left wing blogger for writing a post about right wingers stirring up violence, you're missing something delicious.


Steven H. Newton said...

Re; the Burris comment--bad taste and posturing, you betcha.

I don't know about you, but I've been mad enough to punch somebody in the mouth for what they said, and why didn't I?

Sometimes because I knew it was not behavior my father would have approved of.

The whining squeamishness of folks who have now gotten to the point where you can't tell somebody off with even metaphorical personal violence--but it has been OK with everybody to have jason repeatedly characterizing Dave Burris as a fatass piece of human garbage--is patently offensive to me.

Disingenuous my ass. I called it exactly as I saw it.

jason is not a deep-thinking political provacateur; he's a playground bully who gets off his shots in relative safety because teacher is around to run to his defense.

I'm genuinely sorry you feel that necessary.

And if the fact that I've also wanted to slug people who are consistently and patently offensive to me and mine causes me to be labeled as having a deep character flaw in your book--well, I'm OK with that, given that you are prone to writing off millions of people you've never met, based purely on political party identifications.

Other times because I knew the individual would swear out charges and that I'd lose.

Steven H. Newton said...

Last sentence in that comment got inadvertently moved; should appear after sentence referring to my father.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

I am not defending Jason's rhetoric as he is more than capable of doing that himself. Jason is a warrior for the cause and that isn't always pretty, but I admire and respect his tenacity and passion. But he is hardly a bully; he doesn't run away or else he would have folded his tent long ago. I am not sure what you are referring to in regards to "teacher is around to run to his defense."

Name calling and profanity are part the DE blogosphere. It isn't my style, and I rarely indulge in either (other than to call republicans "repubs" and for some "goat" humor), though I have certainly been the target of it many times.

However, until Burris' post, I can't recall one DE blogger wishing he could harm another DE blogger. You can try to soften that any way you want, but there it is. I hope that does not become a regular occurrence in the DE blogosphere.

The fact that you feel that you want to slug people that are "consistently and patently offensive" to you is not a "a deep character flaw" in my book. But if you were to openly express that desire as part of your day-to-day life or regularly wish it in your blog, I'd wonder. Most people outgrow that between grade school and high school.

But "slugging" Jason wasn't what Burris originally wrote, now was it? You didn't call it you saw it (literally); you called it as you wished it was (interpretively).

The problem we face as a society is not people silently wishing that they could slug someone; it is people wishing that they could kill someone and then acting on those feelings with guns. With freedom comes responsibility, and even though people have the right to call others to arms, it is not necessarily the responsible thing to do.

By the way, I don't write off anybody, per se. I just don't respect or lend credence to the political judgement of people who label themselves as republicans. People who say they support fiscal responsibility, freedom, equal rights, small government, peace, and democracy but remain repubs are either not paying attention, in deep denial, hopelessly optimistic, are lying, or they don't really care.

I don't equate one's political party affiliation with one's humanity. Many repubs are wonderful human beings, just misguided.


Hube said...

However, until Burris' post, I can't recall one DE blogger wishing he could harm another DE blogger. You can try to soften that any way you want, but there it is.

Oh please. You're a friggin' regular commenter and acolyte of the site that wanted to have republicans rounded up and SHOT. And you stress over Burris being angry and wanting to slug Jason?

Have you got a "case."

Steve's 8:32 is the perfect antidote to your continuing nonsense.

Anonymous said...

"Jason is a warrior for the cause and that isn't always pretty, but I admire and respect his tenacity and passion."

nice knee pads sweetie.

as always with the left, the ends justify the means.


Anonymous said...

"nice knee pads sweetie"

Cut from the same cloth, eh, anonni?


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