Biotechnology

Open Thread: Ode to the Enhanced, or Whatever Floats Your Boat

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As Barry Bonds swings his way toward Hank Aaron's home-run record and the Tour de Farce straggles to a close, the Los Angeles Times' Joel Stein pens an "Ode To the Enhanced":

In a more enlightened age, when the risks and the costs of these medical miracles come down, we'll look back on Bonds' triumph as a victory for all of us. We'll see our booing of him as symptoms of a silly, Luddite phobia of manipulating our own bodies. I'm sure there was an equal outcry when makeup was invented. And hair dye and the Wonder bra. How our ancestors went on, I have no idea.

Bonds is not using a corked bat, which many players have, just as plenty of pitchers have scuffed balls. He has simply redesigned his body. Like so many of us have. Medicine, surgery and genetic engineering are no more an affront to God than drinking the protein shakes he didn't leave on the vine. And until we accept that, we're going to keep losing to those we call cheaters.

So next week, I'll be watching Bonds with my Lasiked eyes, free of the scar that was laser-pulsed from my nose, while I run a hand through my Rogained hair. And of course I'll be holding—because it makes me feel better—a beer.

What say you, Hit & Run readers?

Is Bonds simply a cheater? Is Joel Stein being ironic? Or post-9/11 ironically unironic?

What self-directed evolution will you be undertaking this weekend?

And if you're not interested in that topic, then fire away on whatever floats your boat.

NEXT: Slum Justice

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  1. does rogaine really work?

  2. Open thread, so you get to see what made me think fondly of y’all when, a propos of nothing, I came across it.

  3. because i feel i will be turning bald soon, and i gotta plan ahead.

  4. I fail to see where the pro-enhancement people are coming from in regards to sports. Sports have rules, and any meaning from achievement comes from playing within those rules.

  5. FinFangFoom: Sports can also change their rules for the sake of The Game. Baseball has raised or lowered the mound to jiggle ERAs. American football added instant replay. Soccer could ban flopping–no they couldn’t.

    Anyhow, The Rules aren’t sacred.

  6. The Rules Are Sacred. Kristofferson said so and I heard him.

  7. Fans look at the stats and the eras in which the players played and they judge them accordingly, if not always fairly or rationally. Bonds’ achievements, in my opinion, serve only to magnify those of the Babe, Maris and Aaron.

  8. Baseball has raised or lowered the mound to jiggle ERAs…Anyhow, The Rules aren’t sacred.

    Baseball did raise and lower the mound, but baseball didn’t start shooting roids into the players’ asses. Certain players did it, clandestinely, and even if it was not explicitly forbidden by baseball authorities until recently it was illegal and maybe they thought that implied it also was not allowed in baseball.

  9. Sure the rules can be changed, but why?

  10. The pro-steroids people have simply never played sports, so they will never understand. There’s no point in trying to explain it to them.

  11. At some level I think he is right. People who aren’t prevented by rules like athletes will improve themselves when they can. Look further into the future and imagine a time when your average person has a better strength, endurance and reaction time than current athletes. Will there be a class of “naturals” who play pro sports? If so, would anyone watch that? So at some point sports will need to figure out how to accept artificial enhancement.

  12. I fail to see where the pro-enhancement people are coming from in regards to sports.

    In order for rules to be enforced you have to get caught.Cheating successfully in a sporting contest is often admired (auto racing, Gaylord Perry in baseball etc.). Woe unto whoever is caught however, he should suffer the full wrath of the sanctioning body and the fans.Bonds hasn’t been “caught” yet and it won’t be Major League Baseball catching him either. It will be the Damn Feds overstepping their Constitutionally defined function once again. Perhaps we need a Department of Professional Sports or a Sporting Enforcement Agency. I’m sure all the “liberaltarians” would be in favor.

  13. Open thread yet related subject. Does anyone who considers himself pro drug legalization think steroids shouldn’t be? Sports could still ban them just as other private employers could continue testing for psychoactive drugs that are banned as part of an employment contract.

  14. The pro-steroids people have simply never played sports, so they will never understand.

    Both the assertion that “pro-steroids” people have never played sports, and the implication that it matters, are rather dubious.

  15. The host of Weekend Edition–is it Bob Simon? I’m terrible with names–this morning was bemoaning that sports seem to have gone to hell in a handbasket lately. (BTW, whatever his name, he is the brightest spot on NPR.)
    I commented to the Little Woman, as we were driving to WalMart: I seriously doubt sports is any crookeder or sleazier or whatever now, than it has ever been.
    (Unless there has been one of those quantum leaps in human evolution Jay Gould was talking about that completely passed the Little Woman and me by. That’s entirely possible.)

  16. His chosen form of enhancement is CHEATING within baseball’s own official rules and rulings. Until the rules change, it’s CHEATING. Other players abide by the rule. Some don’t. That’s the way CHEATERS and sports always work. He’s also annoying as all hell for his LYING about the obivious.

    BTW: It is not against anyone’s laws or rule to use Rogaine or get a breast implant. There is no CHEATING involved there.

  17. Reasonably good argument on the subject over at the Freakonomics blog.

  18. His chosen form of enhancement is CHEATING within baseball’s own official rules and rulings.

    Gaylord Perry made a career out of CHEATING at baseball and he is in the Hall of Fame.

    There sems to be a different attitude about performancce enhancing drugs than other forms of cheating in sports.

  19. Doctor Duck,

    The piece at FREAKONOMICS,/i> is amusing from a libertarian perspective. The idea that you can’t legalize doping in sports because it would violate medical ethics and controlled substance laws.

  20. …you can’t legalize doping in sports because it would violate medical ethics…

    Definitely the weakest part of the argument. He does make some good points earlier, though, in particular about what you might call the Gresham’s Law of doping. As soon as you make it legal you effectively drive out anyone who doesn’t want to dope (assuming of course that the doping does enhance performance).

  21. His chosen form of enhancement is CHEATING within baseball’s own official rules and rulings.

    And besides Perry, as SIV notes, the outcome of the most famous pennant race in history was a result of the New York Giants cheating, yet that improbable comeback is still a part of baseball lore. In 1951 the Giants managed to erase the 13 1/2 game lead of the Dodgers, (capped off by Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”), with the help of sign stealing from the Polo Grounds center field clubhouse.

  22. His chosen form of enhancement is CHEATING within baseball’s own official rules and rulings.

    I’ll add that his chosen form of enhancement WAS cheating, but hasn’t been for a good while. Also when he WAS cheating, he was undoubtedly doing it against many others who were cheating, too.

  23. Brian, that’s a great story but the difference is that sign stealing isn’t against the rules. Steroids is.

    It’s the rules. If you want to change the rules, fine, but if you are a stand up guy, you play by the rules you agreed to. Maybe you play hard, but you still play by the rules.

    It’s like running a 383 stroker Chevy motor, which looks exactly like a 350 from the outside, in the 350 class.

  24. I’d just like to say that my favorite memory of a game involving Barry Bonds is when I was sitting in the 2nd row left field seats at Turner Field and the drunken yahoos in front of me repeatedly shouted “Blue Barry” at him while throwing chunks of ice from their Budweisers at Barry’s behind.

    That is all.

  25. Ahhh Motorsport where cheating is respectable and admirable, particularly if you don’t get caught.

    The legendary Mark Donohue titled his autobiography The Unfair Advantage.

    Junior Johnson filling the roll cage with extra gas in NASCAR;Smokey Yunick hiding nitrous oxide systems; Those guys would work hard at devising any way to win in violation of both the spirit and the letter of the rules.

  26. Somebody correct me if I am wrong but my understanding is that nothing Bonds has been accused of doing was actually against the rules of baseball at the time he supposedly did it. Is that not the case?

  27. free of the scar that was laser-pulsed from my nose

    They have this?

    I have a scar on my forehead I got like 3 years ago….but if now this can be gotten rid of….I almost want to keep it forever now.

  28. Clearly, what is needed is a no-steroids league and a steroids-using league, so that the people who want baseball without the jet engines can have their fun and the rest of us don’t have to listen to their bitching.

    The government making it illegal to dope is another matter entirely. They force me into their crappy schools, threaten to kidnap me if I don’t pay for their mass-murder campaigns or if I happen to smoke a vegetable, and then they have the gall to go around lecturing beefy jocks about fair play.

  29. Clearly, what is needed is a no-steroids league and a steroids-using league, so that the people who want baseball without the jet engines can have their fun and the rest of us don’t have to listen to their bitching.

    Isn’t this kind of like the NBA and the WNBA? I think the jet engines will draw the crowds.

  30. who cares about spectator sports…

    Is it legal for me to use drugs to help me simply run really fast?

  31. Isn’t this kind of like the NBA and the WNBA? I think the jet engines will draw the crowds.

    That’s what I figure. I think people mainly only care about consistent rules in a sport, whatever the rules allow.

  32. The problem I’ve got with doping in sports is that inevitably it starts very, very young. Steroids, to use the most pernicious example, may improve Barry Bonds’ game, but they can cause serious, lifelong damage to a high school kid trying to get a scholarship. If the pros do it, eventually it trickles down to high school. I’m not so sure that being open about the process might do as much to prevent this problem as banning such drugs would.

  33. One doesn’t have to be for making steroids illegal (I’m not) to just say that knowledge of Bond’s enhancement will make his achievement less impressive than if it had been done without the enhancement. If you knew two baseball players, one that hit x number of home runs and the other that hit x+1, but you also knew the latter ate Dynabol for breakfast every day, then you’d be some kind of fool to think the latter guy was a “better” baseball player.
    I guess I should know better than to look for an actual argument in the murky depths of SIV’s ramblings, but it strikes me that his incoherent postings are implying that cheating in Bonds case is OK because everyone does it. And that is what makes it ok to violate rules that all participants have consented to before taking up the game? And this from a guy who unthinkingly and uncritically would assert the authority of John Locke not too long ago (do you even understand the rudiments of what is entailed by a social contract?).
    I do think the fans are hypocrites to constantly push for ever increasing performances from atheletes, to constantly need to see records broken anew every year, and then to cry fould when they discover that atheletes are bending the rules to give them what they are demanding.

  34. When Hammering Hank set his records, amphetamines were legal. I have read, I don’t know if it’s true, that he and others would use them liberally and that Hank kept a jug of go juice which included amphetamine in his locker.

    In out current era, Barry was hitting against pitchers using all the chemicals he used.

    As for steroids, I understand they helped in sppeding recovery from injuries. That sounds like a good thing… and like so many good things, the harm is in the excess.

  35. Why don’t they just give all ‘roid users asterisks and let it go. That will give the hot stove league something to bring up every time a record is approached, and give certified non-users an opportunity to go for a ‘clean’ record.

  36. While this fool is cheering on Barry, people that follow sports will be keeping an eye on A-Rod who is almost certain to shatter any record that Bonds sets.

  37. Shooting Up on Jock Culture
    By Robert Lipsyte

    I was shooting depo-testosterone the other day, imagining how good the juice would make me feel and how it would power my pedaling up the Ram Island hill, the toughest test on my 15-mile bicycle ride. The hill is my Alps and so my feelings about Floyd Landis testing positive this past steroid summer after winning the Tour de France with a ruined hip are so mixed as to be almost incoherent. Like all super-elite athletes, including Barry Bonds and Marion Jones, Floyd is a freak of physique and will. I could double my dosage, shoot up every day, and never ride in his shadow.

    So consider what follows just random notes from Jock Culture by a recovering sportswriter.

    Denial and Demonization

    I do understand my own complicity in the superstars’ need for the needle; we — fans, coaches, parents, owners, media — demand that they attempt superhuman feats to thrill us, authenticate us, make us rich and proud, and naturally they need superhuman help to satisfy us. (We also want our Whole Foods before they rot, which is why long-haul truck drivers pop speed.)

    And we don’t want to know about the process. When it’s jammed in our faces, when athletes come up “dirty” in testing (or truck drivers jackknife on the interstate), we demand that they be punished and expunged from our fantasies.

    This pattern of denial and demonization is our problem, not theirs. Steroid use in sports is a symptom of our disease more than theirs, and a fascinating, if tinted, window on Jock Culture, on its connection to the complicated, dangerous, exhilarating way manhood is measured in America from the field house to the White House.

    “Athletes certainly have no ethical dilemma about doing steroids,” says Dr. Michael Miletic, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst whose Detroit-area practice includes high school, college, and professional athletes. “Steroids are totally embedded in the sports culture. We need to get past the finger-pointing. There’s been a wholesale abandonment of critical analysis.”

    There isn’t even a solid body of scientific information about performance enhancement in sports to analyze. Exactly which performances are enhanced, and how, and by which anabolic steroids, androgens, human growth hormone, Erythropoietin (EPO), or whatever else athletes shoot, swallow, and sniff? What are the long-term or short-term effects? Are those enhancements and side-effects different for adolescents and adults, for men and women?

    And how can we justify teasing out sports performance from all the other ways we try to enhance ourselves?

    “Performance-enhancement is in a gray area,” says Dr. Robert L. Klitzman, a psychiatrist and faculty associate at Columbia University’s Center for Bioethics. “Would you include new technologies to improve cognitive abilities? How about access to SAT prep coaching? Assisted pregnancies?

    “It’s going to get even more complicated as techniques for screening embryos and scanning brains become more sophisticated. Scientists will be looking for stupidity genes and smart pills. Cosmetic psycho-pharmacology is an area where people with money will have advantages over people who don’t. Is that fair? In an ideal world there would be a level playing field. Exactly where does cheating begin?”

    Cheating begins at the beginning, of course, with our kids.

    Enhancing Childhood

    I’ve heard about normal-sized kids getting human growth hormone just to give them a leg up, and I’ve watched four and five year-olds taking golf and tennis lessons, or racing cars. This is childhood enhancement, the sports equivalent of getting your kid into that pre-school whose starting blocks are on the track to a prep school that feeds Princeton. It makes just as much sense in sports; by pre-adolescence, the competition is fierce and the youngster whose killer instinct hasn’t been honed simply won’t be advancing to the finals.

    My accountant moved to Florida because his eight year-old showed talent on the golf course. He swore he would be doing the equivalent if his son were a whiz at math or the violin. As parents, he insisted, we have a duty to give our kids every chance to discover the limits of their possibilities. No argument there, which makes it harder to argue about the limit of that duty — and where it becomes child abuse.

    Of course, even if as a teenager my accountant’s kid bumps up against the limits of his golf game, he’ll probably be good enough to be admitted to a selective college that has a golf team, and afterward to work his way up the corporate ladder with joke-a-stroke putts.

    Meanwhile, the poor kid who mortgaged his soul for a hoops dream has a lot less to fall back on. As sports reformers keep reminding us, the possibility of a high-school football or basketball player actually playing big-time college ball, much less reaching the pros, is a lottery shot. But coaches, parents, and inner-city educators herd them through school — and keep them under control — drugged by the dream. The stereotypical poor jock, who winds up without an education, becomes so much sports trash.

    And then we have those little car racers. Since at least the 1950s, quarter-midget and Go-Kart racing as a gearhead little league — the cars can go 30 miles per hour and up on tiny dirt tracks — has been a regional phenomenon, primarily in the southeast. In the past half-dozen years, it has followed the NASCAR boom to success. There’s serious money, real jobs, and the chance for corporate networking in anything NASCAR-related now, and not just for the drivers on the major and high minor-league circuits. The pit crew that jumps the wall for a top team can make $100,000 each. No wonder those quarter-midget dads have been known to slip illegal additives into their kids’ fuel supply.

    I recently attended a race where an official pointed out such a dad, whose kid went on to win. But no one wanted to make a fuss and bring down bad publicity. Soon enough, I was told, the kid’s victories would lift him into a higher classification and that dad would become some other official’s problem. When I asked a few of the officials and crew-chief dads what all this was teaching the youngsters, they looked at me as if I were what I obviously was, a man out of touch.

    Jocks and Pukes

    At least in car racing, the steroids go into the car, not the athlete. So far at least.

    Dr. Miletic, a friend, collaborator, and former Olympic weight-lifter, believes that nobody under twenty-one should take steroids because of the unknown effect on developing bodies and brains, and that far more dangerous to society than adolescent drug-taking is the dividing of youngsters, particularly boys, into jocks and pukes. Both points I agree with.

    The first time I heard the word “puke” used as a noun was in 1968. That was the way Columbia’s head crew coach, recently returned from stroking a shell along the Saigon River while a Naval officer, described political activists demonstrating against the war, as well as English majors lolling around campus listening to their beards grow.

    Just when kids need to be socialized, taught fundamental sports and fitness skills, and made comfortable in their bodies, along comes Little League baseball and PeeWee football to weed and classify them. In typical suburban environments, the sorting is simple enough — the kids marked as future elite athletes join “travel teams” that soak up resources and attention. Whatever level field once existed in such sports has long since tilted.

    However, the kids left behind, the pukes, are still not free to play; they have to keep competing for the crumbs. With less pressure than the travel team members, some of them may actually get more from their experience, but for the most part they will grow up idolizing and resenting the jocks. No wonder the biggest growth in sports has been the so-called fantasy leagues in which mostly men, hooked on their computers, play owner, selecting athletes from actual teams whose actual individual performances will be toted up at season’s end to produce on-line winners. While money is often involved, the biggest pay-off seems to be finally getting power over those jocks. What better control then owning them?

    But back in high school, when it really counted, the power seemed to be in jock hands. Other kids either identified with them, or became insurgents, in spirit if not action. After the Columbine High School killings with their Jock-Puke overtones, I ran a New York Times Internet forum.

    The response was thoughtful, sometimes emotional e-mails, mostly from middle-aged men who remembered high school with pain. Two representative examples:

    “When I attended high school, I had so much built-up anger from being treated unfairly that, if I had access to guns or explosives, [I] would have been driven to do similar things to take revenge on the Italian and Irish white bastard jocks who dominated the school and made those 4 years miserable for me. After high school, I was not surprised to hear that a handful of these jocks had either died as a result of drunk driving and drug overdoses, or had spent a little time in jail for violence or drug possession. As for the dead ones, I would probably pee on their graves.”

    And from a former Jock:

    “We really did get special attention both from the students, and from the teachers. We also did cruel things to other students. I have a 20th school anniversary this summer and plan on seeking forgiveness from the people I know I helped terrorize.”

    The word terrorize took on a different resonance after 9/11, but the values of Jock Culture loomed large even on that day. The firefighters, police officers, and emergency technicians who rushed into the World Trade Center exemplified Jock Culture’s most heroic and selfless models; and a majority of the victims who died at work in the Twin Towers were identified as jocks in their obits. Personnel executives I interviewed about that phenomenon admitted that they specifically tried to hire former varsity high school and college athletes for brokerage jobs because they had discipline, were responsive to authority, knew how to overcome setbacks, and were willing to play hurt (come to work sick).

    Othello Juiced on the Diamond

    Jocks in the work-place, hard-driving and superficially fraternal, often mimic the postures of their big-league role models. Yet the baleful mask of the pro athlete’s game face is not only there to intimidate opponents; it’s also a defense against inner fears. Athletes have been taught to appear invulnerable, to repress emotion, to never, ever let ’em see you sweat, much less show panic or pain.

    This is why for so many pro athletes, with their shallow marriages, false friendships, and dysfunctional family relationships, the only places where true emotion can freely emerge are the locker-room and the playing field. There, they can finally hug and cry. For many, these are the only times they feel truly alive, and one can understand how they might be tempted to do anything to stay in the arena, including drugs. It isn’t only about bulking up to win games; it’s also about staying strong to survive in the game, their comfort zone, their home.

    Consider poor Barry Bonds, the Othello of the sports drama. (His Desdemona was fame.) Barry was raised a prince, the son of a star (Bobby), the godson of a superstar (Willie Mays), and he definitely proved himself worthy. Lean and apparently drug-free, Barry was arguably the greatest player of his generation, but one day the crowd’s affection and the home-run records began flowing to a swollen, surly, red-headed meatball named Mark McGwire who was clearly on the juice. So Barry, with an aging and wounded back and bad knees, seemingly decided to level the field by getting some, too.

    Now, I don’t much like Barry. Once, he so frustrated me during an interview that I appealed to his dad, who just shrugged and said he had the same problems. Barry’s moral character makes him a poor role model for the sportswriters who are jumping all over him now that he’s down. I wonder if they’re making up for having never noticed all the steroid side effects in locker-rooms the past ten years. (Actually, serious steroid use, particularly in Olympic events, goes back to the days when I was reporting, so you can blame me, too.)

    Barry didn’t start taking steroids — if he did: no proof yet — to enslave our children or to mock all fans outside San Francisco or even to bury Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. He did it because he wanted to stay in the locker-room and on the field, and he wanted to be the best. He did exactly what he had been trained to do as a Jock Warrior, pushing himself and the boundaries, winning ugly, even cheating, if necessary.

    The media has had a tougher time beating up on Marion Jones, described by Harvey Araton, one of our best sports columnists, as “the elegant sprinter with the sweet, crooked smile” who engendered in him “wishful — and probably blind — subjectivity” (even as her husband, boyfriend, coach, and running mates were nailed as drug cheaters). Jones was a track-and-field princess even when her body became ever more princely in muscle definition. She reminded me of Florence Griffith-Joyner, who died of a seizure in her sleep in 1998, ten years after setting an Olympic record in the 100 meters. FloJo, who also associated with drug mavens, was widely suspected of steroid use as her muscles bloomed. Jones, who returned to the track after giving birth three years ago, was never caught with steroids; the test that temporarily did her in was for EPO, a red blood-booster that enhances stamina. But the confirming test came up negative and she was off the hook, avoiding a two-year suspension but not raised eyebrows, including mine.

    Crossing Up the Duke of Wellington

    That we pretend to care about chemical performance-enhancers in sports seems hypocritical and diverting, and perhaps the last gasp of the character-building that we once claimed for sports. The Duke of Wellington’s declaration that the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton became, in nineteenth and early twentieth century America, a slogan of the secular religion of amateurism, of young men joyously playing games that prepared them for war and factory work. As amateurism was devalued, the new cult of mid-twentieth century professionalism offered a promise of class mobility, of young men loosed from the rural mines and the urban slums to play college ball and maybe even become major league millionaires. But athletic stars were still “role models” for youth because the supposed meritocracy of sports and the inherent fairness of games made them morally superior to the actors, musicians, and celebrities who merely entertained us.

    But as sports crossed-over into manufactured televised spectacle and athletes became rappers with muscles, our games seemed to become a way of distracting us from work and war, an opiate instead of an inspiration. The Super Bowl became as much a part of the cultural landscape as the Academy Awards, its half-time variety show a coveted showcase. Jocks were just a bigger breed of show-biz celeb, similarly insulated by agents, publicists, posses, bodyguards.

    Fans grumbled at their perceived ingratitude for their rich, easy, charmed lives. The media ran their salary charts and their police reports alongside box scores. The professional witnesses, led by ESPN, affected an ironic tone, appearing to distance themselves from the hype while wallowing in it: Yesssss, this is great fun; we’re en fuego, dudes, but let’s not take it too seriously, only 24/7.

    Athletes were swept along with their industry. As the ideals of sportsmanship (often elitist and hypocritical as they were) gave way to the tactics of gamesmanship, as totally dominating your opponent became the ultimate test of victory, as cutting corners, intimidation, and living large became marks of the winning style, Jock Culture developed new values and definitions that spread into the larger culture of politics and big business. (Or, as the sports apologists claimed, societal values leaked into the leagues.)

    Whatever, dude. So why should we — Botox’ed, Viagra’ed, silconed — be surprised that athletes are enhancing themselves, too? And why should we care?

    On one level, I don’t. The jock’s capital has always been his body, and he should be free to spend and invest it. Policing that should be a function of the team dynamic. It is very telling that athletes, as competitive and violent as they can be in every aspect of their lives, have not dispensed locker-room justice to the steroid-users who are presumably tilting the playing field and stealing jobs from team-mates who stay clean. Obviously, most everybody is using drugs. That genie is out of the bottle.

    Where Dr. Miletic and I feel great concern, however, is in the unregulated use of performance enhancers on the high-school level, where thousands of kids whose minds and bodies are still in stages of vulnerable development are taking drugs with the complicity of parents and coaches. Test them, we say. Clean up that generation, then you can gasbag about Barry Bonds.

    “I don’t believe kids are taking steroids because they think it helped Barry Bonds,” says Dr. Miletic. “They’re taking it because team-mates, opponents, a strength coach, a gym owner is telling them it will make them better. And often it will. I’m more worried about other drugs. Diuretics can kill you quickly. And pain killers not only mask athletic injuries that should be attended to, they offer an addictive high.”

    Steroids offer a high, too, a more subtle feeling of wellness, of strength, of optimism that is best understood in its absence. I’ve been shooting steroids for almost fifteen years, since a third cancer operation left me unable to produce testosterone naturally. Once a month, I nail one of my quadriceps with a 22- gauge needle and pump in the oily yellow fluid. Without it, my prescribing surgeon tells me, I would be physically fatigued and mentally sluggish, lose my sex drive, be achy and depressed. And I certainly wouldn’t be pedaling up the Ram Island hill yelling “Floyd Landis” to give me a boost.

    No question I’m taking a performance-enhancing drug — and one that seems as cutting edge as that old friend penicillin, as this steroid summer turns chilly and quaint. In England, according to London’s Sunday Times, a number of top soccer players have been “storing stem cells from their newborn babies as a potential future treatment for their own career-threatening sports injuries.”

    Now they tell us. Maybe that could have helped Floyd’s hip or Barry’s damaged back and knee, or Marion’s post-partum blues. Our blues, too.

  38. Those guys would work hard at devising any way to win in violation of both the spirit and the letter of the rules.

    That don’t make it right, it’s still agin’ the rules.

    BTW, SIV, I bet cock fighting has rules…..

  39. Those guys would work hard at devising any way to win in violation of both the spirit and the letter of the rules.

    I’m not that up on mid-level (Grand National Division) NASCAR but I do know that if you win the race, they’re gonna tear your 350 down to make sure it ain’t a 383.

  40. http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/25/duprat.php

    Check this out for the artsy fartsy version of enhancement. . .

    Really cool, I think

  41. I would hate to wonder into a open mic night when word bomb was in the house.

  42. or wander.

  43. Ewwwww!

    Enhancement?

    BTW, get some rain today NM?

  44. open thread?

    Democrats are those that benefit from a particular social order at the expense of all others.

    don’t believe me?

    “I’m going to be asking a new generation to serve,” she said. “I think just like our military academies, we need to give a totally all-paid education to young men and women who will serve their country in a public service position.”

  45. BTW, get some rain today NM?

    .. today was supposed to be the heaviest rain day of the week but only got a few sprinkles at my place (north-central mountains)

    .. Hobbit

  46. So, Mr Hobbit, is that where you take the name Jemez?

    Dude, I am drinking the most fab-u-los-oh wine………

    Cantina Zaccagnini

    I just know I was Italian in another life.

  47. It’d be worth moving to New Mexico or Tucson just to get those summer thunderstorms.

  48. I just know I was Italian in another life.

    A you sure you are not?

    Rome pretty much stomped on every white people who ended up speaking english….

  49. “I commented to the Little Woman, as we were driving to WalMart: I seriously doubt sports is any crookeder or sleazier or whatever now, than it has ever been.”

    Ruthless is right.

    I think the difference is drug testing, the war on drugs, etc. Other generations didn’t have to contend with that. …What was the name of that guy who threw a no-hitter on acid?

    …drug testing is hurting professional sports like nothing else can. How many of the bad stories we hear are about so and so getting pulled over and searched for drugs and taken in and forced to get tested, whatever…

    The league should try to abandon drug testing for their own good. Sure they’ll take some heat for it, but they’re making themselves look so bad. …is testing mandated by congress? I thought they stopped short of that.

    If we’re really worried about influencing the kids, and athletes are going to continue to use such substances proportionately in line with other homo sapiens, wouldn’t it be just as well if the kids didn’t have their heroes laid low?

    …Am I better off for Dexter Manley having been drummed out of the NFL? I don’t think so. (Whether society is better off for sentencing Manley to four years in prison on a simple possession charge is another rhetorical question entirely.)

    My understanding is that it’s a trend in corporate America too–limit yourself to people who didn’t have any fun in their twenties and you’re probably eliminating some highly qualified candidates.

  50. “What was the name of that guy who threw a no-hitter on acid?”

    Dock Ellis

    http://www.houstonpress.com/2005-06-23/news/high-times/

  51. Okay, let’s all agree that it’s totally fine for baseball players to use steroids — especially since there was no written rule prohibiting it in the MLB in the first place. That being the case, why does Bonds and literally every other major league player insist they never knowingly took steroids? What are they so afraid of, seeing that it was (is?) both legal AND that they did indeed take it to break records that we all enjoyed watched being broken? And if Joe Six-Pack is so against it, why is HE still going to MLB games in record numbers, while paying record prices for tickets, parking and hot dogs?

    I suggest we all hold a nationwide hypocrite parade that we ALL march in, with no one watching! While on steroids! And Barry Bonds can carry me when I get tired!

  52. Doping in sports surely isn’t inherently immoral, but, as several posters have already argued, winning and losing doesn’t mean shit if you’re cheating. If baseball doesn’t allow steroid use now (regardless of the MLB’s past positions), then a player who uses steroids is breaking his commitment to play by the rules and the expectations of fans who believe they’re watching a fair game.

    Maybe performance enhancing drugs are the wave of the future. If so, those who support them should put their money where their mouths are and either (1) push MLB to change their rules or (2) start their own damn league where doping is fine. Either way, the league has the right to set whatever rules it wants, and whoever breaks them is cheating.

    Sheesh. And I thought private ownership actually meant something around here.

  53. “What was the name of that guy who threw a no-hitter on acid?”

    Dock Ellis

    http://www.houstonpress.com/2005-06-23/news/high-times/

    Wow, this is news to me. Maybe Tim Leary’s motto should be, “Tune in, turn on, pop out”…

  54. Are there any good sports writers anymore? It seems to me they no longer want to tell the story of the game, but would rather interject themselves into the story as often as possible. ESPN does not help matters either.

  55. RC | July 29, 2007, 5:42am

    Either way, the league has the right to set whatever rules it wants, and whoever breaks them is cheating.

    Bonds has never failed a drug test, take it for what it is worth, neither did Lance Armstrong. There will never be any competition to MLB in the form of a doping league. MLB would not allow the competition. The owners own the game, and would never allow a start up league. One might think Congress would revoke MLB anti-trust clause, over that, but I doubt it would happen. Hell, look at microsoft.

  56. If it’s not worth cheating for, it’s not worth having. -W C Fields

  57. The Leftist reaction to the Scott Thomas Beauchamp / Elspeth Reeve story is unfolding according to the script that the Left always follows.

    The doubt people expressed in the truthfulness of the stories was countered with: See! He exists! He revealed his last name and military people found him on AKO! So, everything he said is true because you doubted his existence.

    The next bit of Left-of-hand came with the existence of child graves in Iraq as “proof” that soldiers commonly desecrate them. I am sure the rational folk around here will see the error in that process. Private Second Class Scott Thomas Beauchamp also mentioned digging in dirt a lot. Next defense will be confirmation of dirt in Iraq is proof that he is telling the truth.

    The Private is under investigation now and there are indications that he had some other issues going on. His current grade of PV2 is, as they say, his “second appointment” in that grade. Expect the Left, especially the prominent ones, to blame military harassment for all of this soldier’s bad deeds.

    Expect that when the investigation concludes that the Private is not clean as driven snow, the Leftist will cry of scapegoating. If anything he said was actually true, expect the cries of “cover up” when his buddies are prosecuted. Happened with Abu Ghraib, will probably happen here too.

    All that aside, I suspect that if we ever hear anything about what was going on for real inside TNR, like the drafts of the stories before editing, we will discover that the original set of tall tales morphed into the published work through a heavy dose of Fairbanksing.

  58. And if you’re not interested in that topic, then fire away on whatever floats your boat.

    Doesn’t firing on boats tend to make them stop floating?

  59. It’s like running a 383 stroker Chevy motor, which looks exactly like a 350 from the outside, in the 350 class.

    Isn’t this why the whole bracket racing thing came about?

  60. Somebody correct me if I am wrong but my understanding is that nothing Bonds has been accused of doing was actually against the rules of baseball at the time he supposedly did it. Is that not the case?

    That is not the case. Steroids have been against the rules in baseball since at least 1991. There was just no testing, then lax testing for a while. Also the penalties were minor until just recently.

    On June 7, 1991, commissioner Fay Vincent sent a memo to each team and the players union that stated: “The possession, sale or use of any illegal drug or controlled substance by Major League players or personnel is strictly prohibited … This prohibition applies to all illegal drugs … including steroids.”

    So, at least since June of 1991, any drug that was illegal was also a violation of baseball’s rules.

  61. Idunno, I thonk you could give all the steroids you like to the entire reason staff and all of us commentors and none of us hit 700 homers in a lifetime. Well, execpt maybe David.

  62. The Bush administration is preparing to ask Congress to approve an arms sale package for Saudi Arabia and its neighbors that is expected to total $20 billion over the next decade at a time when some U.S. officials contend that the Saudis are playing a counterproductive role in Iraq.

    U.S. officials said the plan to bolster the militaries of Persian Gulf countries is part of a U.S. strategy to contain the growing power of Iran in the region and to demonstrate that, no matter what happens in Iraq, Washington remains committed to its longtime Arab allies in the region.

    The proposed package of advanced weaponry for Saudi Arabia, which includes advanced satellite-guided bombs, upgrades to its fighters and new naval vessels, has made Israel and some of its supporters in Congress nervous.

    Senior officials who described the package on Friday said they believed the administration has now resolved those concerns, in part by promising Israel $30.4 billion in military aid for over the next decade, a significant increase over what Israel has received in the past 10 years.

    …..

    Along with the announcement of formal talks with Persian Gulf allies on the arms package, Rice is planning to outline the new 10-year agreement to provide military aid to Israel, as well as a similar agreement with Egypt. The $30.4 billion being promised to Israel is $9.1 billion more than Israel has received over the past decade, a nearly 43 percent increase.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/nationworld/ci_6486928

    This does not exactly make me feel safer.

  63. Guy, first of all, fuck you. The only reason any “defense” of Beauchamp has been “shifting” is because the bullshit the pro-torture, pro-war, pro-blowing-Dubya blogosphere has been coming up with to try to discredit the article has been shifting. When losers like you come up with a different bullshit reason to try to claim the article is false every day, OF COURSE the articles debunking your garbage is going to “shift”. First lying douchebags tried to say he didn’t exist – and they were proven wrong. Then they tried to say the things he described couldn’t have happened – and they were proven wrong. Now they’re reduced to trying to claim that the stories may be true, but Beauchamp is a bad soldier for providing those stories to TNR. When the world’s biggest cocksucking douchebag, Hugh Hewitt, is on your side, it’s time to get a new side.

  64. The Saudis will need the weapons in the upcoming civil war with Al-Qaida. If that country blows up, we sure as hell can’t send troops. You think Iraq draws a lot of foreign fighters? Wait till we’re killing Muslims on the holy land.

  65. With regard to the steroids debate, there are lots of legal and ethical questions here that have been covered in the thread pretty well, but one that has only been marginally touched on – the question of what constitutes an “enhancement” that is even asterisk-worthy in the first place.

    Gillespie’s original post points out that this isn’t really as simple as everyone seems to assume.

    The whole “juice” debate seems to imply that there is some sort of “inherent athlete” that one “really and truly” is, and that adding steroids to the mix transforms you into something that is no longer that “inherent athlete” and that your performance after this transformation is thereby falsified. I don’t see how this can be supported. It is, in fact, the distant echo of the argument against using anesthetics for surgery, when you think about it. Or the argument against any medical intervention in human life at all.

    There is no “inherent athlete” lurking inside us as a potentiality. Or at least, there’s no way to identify it. Your athletic potential is contingent upon a thousand different things that are dependent on the historical period you live in, the culture, cuisine and hygiene of your country of residence, the social stature of your family, etc. Whether Lance Armstrong did steroids or not, his performance was already “enhanced” by the fact that had he lived 50 or 60 years ago he would have died of cancer and never lived to race at all. The diet, training systems, and sports medicine available to athletes today makes virtually every statistic an “asterisked” one if you get right down to it. But that’s one reason why all records are made to be broken.

  66. Guy Montag,

    You seem to be the only one here who hates the leftists almost as much as I do.

    The Bush administration may have led us into Iraq senselessly, and Democrats are better on drug war, but God I still fucking hate liberals.

    I think you do too, and I appreciate that.

  67. Guy,

    I know about Glass, Siegel and Scott Thomas, but what happened with Fairbanks?

  68. Fluffy,

    Guy, first of all, fuck you.

    Sorry, I am just not into you. That whole trash-keyboard thing is such a turnoff and I am not even on your team. Try courting Lee Seigel.

  69. GC,

    Google is your friend 🙂

    She has been a ‘blog verb for almost a year now.

  70. I used to be against steroids as a knee-jerk reaction and I have argued the point here before.

    In the meantime, a bit of experience has changed my attitude. Multiple contusions, exhaustion, and aching joints and limbs were a large part of my recent forays into sport (indoor soccer). I wish I had had some steroids to help me recover; perhaps I wouldn’t have given it up after finding myself laid out for the second time in a month.

    “Medical intervention” is exactly what it is. Athletes still have to work out and practice just as they would do without the help. No pill can make muscle and no pill can give you skill where none existed before. A lot of sports inevitably lead to injury. Some are meant to include injury. Pressuring athletes to damage themselves and then not allowing them to use whatever means are out there to heal is a bit sadistic.

  71. The Bush administration may have led us into Iraq senselessly, and Democrats are better on drug war, but God I still fucking hate liberals.

    I remain unconvinced.

  72. I don’t hate Leftists, I just disagree with them, sometimes quite strongly.

  73. She has been a ‘blog verb for almost a year

    Longer than that and while MS has managed to get google into the spell checker, typing blog still sets off the OOOO GAHHHH horn. Just try using google as a verb in Word. Good Gravy, it’s nearly 2008.

  74. Here is the problem with hating lefties: Their politics suck but some of them are pretty cool people to hang around with. Easy to hate the Daily Kos not so easy to hate the chick sitting across the table from you that you’ve known half your life. She’s sharing wine, laughing in all the right places, and asking about your kids. Hard to hate her. At least until she starts in on banning hand guns. 🙂

    Being friend’s with a liberal is like being friends with a cop.

    [sigh]

  75. Isn’t this why the whole bracket racing thing came about?

    I believe so, yes. Makes it interesting and competitive at the Wednesday Night Grudge Races.

  76. At least until she starts in on banning hand guns.

    Or what I should be allowed to eat, or where smoking should be allowed, or what I should be smoking, or . . .

  77. “The Bush administration may have led us into Iraq senselessly, and Democrats are better on drug war, but God I still fucking hate liberals.

    I remain unconvinced.”

    We,, not that Singularly Idiotic Voice would be convinced with facts or that he cares one bit about ending the drug war, its more likely he just wants to make sure libertarians don’t notice how egregious his beloved Republicans are on this issue.
    But.
    No major party supports drug legalization. The only way to get an idea of which is “better” on drugs is to look at issues around the margin, like medical marijuana. And there is no contest there, the Dems are much more libertarian.
    http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/495/congressional_medical_marijuana_vote_the_details
    Also, “liberal” organizations (not awlays the same as “Democrat”), like the ACLU, advocate putting a serious dent in the drug war. I’m not aware of any non-libertarian conservative org that thinks the same.

  78. The Democrats are most assuredly not better on the War on Drugs?. There’s no difference in the conduct of that “war” between 2007 and 1997.

  79. Speaking of racin’, the Nextel race starts sometime after 1400 Eastern today. Anybody going to be near the Crystal City Sports Pub in Arlington, VA? Might be watching it on level 2 if it is open (level 1 if not) and might even get the sound if the lovely bartender, Amy, gets enough requests.

    As for my recent dream of a 440 in my ’72 ‘hybrid’ Charger, that anin’t in the budget for quite some time 🙁

  80. “Being friend’s with a liberal is like being friends with a cop.”

    And you wouldn’t want your daughter to marry either of them.

  81. The Democrats are most assuredly not better on the War on Drugs?. There’s no difference in the conduct of that “war” between 2007 and 1997.

    Personally, I find the “war on drugs” to be a big waste of resources, if the drugs are the only objective.

    I am all for it when it is removing an income source from Marxist rebels and/or other assorted undesirables.

  82. “Speaking of racin’, the Nextel race starts sometime after 1400 Eastern today. Anybody going to be near the Crystal City Sports Pub in Arlington, VA?”

    I can see the Interstate from my deck, if I squint; same thing. Taxicab “racing” at the Speedway? Bah! Pffft!

  83. Here’s a thought provoking question:

    Freedom of Speech vs. Trespassing Speech

    A couple of days ago there was a thread about urinals in China that take some interesting (to say the least) forms and shapes. (See: https://www.reason.com/blog/show/121643.html#comments).

    On the discussion board, very quickly the discussion turned into attacks on religion (specifically Christianity and at least one was on Islam’s prophet). Some of these comments were, lets say, less than intellectual or have any form of good taste (in my viewpoint).

    So here is the point I wish to debate by way of an extreme version of the right to bear arms (see latest Reason issue): If I owned a bazooka, I am free (according to Libertarian ideals) to use it as I will as long as I do not trespass over others’ freedoms, rights, and property (e.g., fire it all I want in the middle of the Nevada desert). Now here is a debate question that I wish to hear what people think of: if I think of my speech as my bazooka and freedom of speech as the right to own a bazooka. Now in the abstract world of ideas and beliefs, my belief is my own abstract property that is protected by the freedom of religion. So in essence I have a domain in which no one has the right to trespass.

    Aside from the fact that personal, non-argumentative attacks on religion (or lack thereof for that matter), as opposed to legitimate concerns and debates, is usually unfruitful and a simple waste of breath as any (really) hate speech is, does one’s free speech give him/her the right to trespass others’ beliefs and sensibilities? “But I have the right to free speech” one would ask, “and I have the right to say whatever and whenever I want, regardless of others. To that I would say: “Well you have the right to fire your gun from a public space (say the desert), but what if the bullet ends up in my living room? You have the right to fire your gun outside my property (or, say whatever you feel like saying), but it ended up in a domain that I own (my abstract domain of “belief”, respectively).

    I raise this question because, as libertarians, we are not necessarily against established religions or belief systems, including atheism (“the free market will determine which ones will eventually survive” would be the libertarian response) . But sometimes, as one can see in the above-mentioned discussion regarding the urinals and the virgin Marry), some libertarians are so willing to express nonsensical attacks (even for humor) that does nothing but offend others. Do libertarians want to alienate people with both religious and libertarian beliefs? Imagine that the huge numbers of Evangelical Christians discover/rediscover their libertarian roots, wouldn’t that be good for the libertarian movement? Isn’t libertarianism really nothing but a set of ideals that is capable of placing under its membership canopy the largest number of people regardless of their creed?

    Just some thoughts.

  84. I’m not aware of any non-libertarian conservative org that thinks the same.

    For at least fifteen years Wm F Buckley (and by extension NR when he was at the helm) has held that the drug war is lost and at a very minimum pot should be legalized. As a matter of policy, he believes serious study should be done to figure out what the true effects of drug legalization would be and privately he believes that drugs should be legalized.

    The left abandoned the drug issue in 1975.

  85. And you wouldn’t want your daughter to marry either of them.

    Amen, brother.

  86. TWC,

    WFB and NR are libertarian leaning, in that Goldwater way.

  87. …we are not necessarily against established religions

    What? Didn’t you have to sign that secret oath to persecute Christians when you logged in?

    Do libertarians want to alienate people with both religious and libertarian beliefs?

    For the most part, the answer is yes they do.

    Libertarians tend to be very tolerant of liberals who share some libertarian values but alos hold certain beliefs that are hostile to libertarian values. Libertarians generally do not afford the same consideration to Holy Rollers.

    See? That was simple.

  88. WFB and NR are libertarian leaning, in that Goldwater way.

    Not everybody around here would agree with that although I tend to.

    Point was that Mr Nice Guy was saying he wasn’t aware of any conservative organization that was good on the drug war. If you Google define conservative your going to get a photo of William F Buckley.

  89. Here is the problem with hating lefties: Their politics suck but some of them are pretty cool people to hang around with. Easy to hate the Daily Kos not so easy to hate the chick sitting across the table from you that you’ve known half your life. She’s sharing wine, laughing in all the right places, and asking about your kids. Hard to hate her.

    Are you talking about liberal activists or people who are basically apolitical but list “liberal” under political beliefs on facebook?

    I prefer friends who don’t give a shit about politics. Either that or military guys, who are patriotic and self reliant. I’ve found that actual liberal activists (there are a lot of them on my campus), are some of the most unplesant people in the world to be around. Their way of looking at the world screams to me that everybody in the world is either a victim or a victimizer, all human existence is without dignity, and we should demand equality by bringing us all down to the level of the most pathetic members of our species. Those who call themselves liberal just because they think it means you are pro-a good time are easier to swallow.

  90. Has anybody here rebuilt a Torqueflight 727? Can it be accomplished by mere mortals rather than those rocket-scientist transmission techs?

  91. The Wine Commonsewer?:

    Sure, but you are not addressing the main point of the question: Does someone has the absolute right to use his/her speech to attack (not “argue with”, but “attack”) and trespass others’ religious sensibilities? Is it good for the discourse and the libertarian image and/or political strength in society?

  92. Automatic transmissions are the work of the Devil.

  93. iih,

    Sounds like you are talking about ‘attacking’ an idea, not a person, with words. I don’t see anything wrong with that at all.

    Unfortunatly, those attackers spiral downwards into something like Fluffy posted @ 1004.

  94. The expulsion of Michael Rasmussen for the Tour de France was the nastiest act yet taken in this craze for ‘cleanliness’ in sports.

    No one proved a damn thing against him. All that needed to happen was for someone to say that they knew someone who said that they saw him in a different place than where he said he was when he WASN’T EVEN TRAINING, much less competing. (Professional cyclists must let cycling authorities know where they are at all times. Apparantly they are allowed no privacy at all in these matters.)

    He has never failed a doping test, and his performance has been quite consistent over his career. Yet when he was finally set to win the tour, someone leaks this lame story, and his team drops him. Just to prove that they are ‘clean’.

    Anti-drug sentiment is quickly becoming the new anti-semitism.

    Creepy shit

  95. herodotus,

    Scooter Libby was convicted the same way. So was Martha Stewart.

  96. Guy Montag,

    Yes, indeed, what fluffy posted at 10:04 is exactly the kind of thing I have in mind. But, moreover, my concern is that when it comes to religion, there seems to be a general sentiment of disrespect towards religion in general. Is that helpful to the libertarian movement in general?

    Another example, in recent discussions regarding Ron Paul, there were voices on this forum (and I do realize that not every person on this forum is necessarily libertarian — and there are impostors) that criticized RP for his stance on the illegality of abortion (which has supporting arguments that are libertarian as well as religious, but both agree on the outcome — that abortion is illegal). Some of the sentiments expressed in the discussion were primarily personal anti-religious, as opposed to being based on any intellectual merit. I realize that not all libertarians (as the rest of their fellow human beings who are not libertarian) are intellectually capable, but the consequences are not helpful to the cause.

  97. Soccer could ban flopping–no they couldn’t.

    Actually, yes they could:

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter “foreshadowed further moves to be made against faking injuries, during matches.

    “He said a player whose injury, supposed or real, requires a stoppage to the game, may have to remain off the field for a period of about five minutes.

    ” ‘The expulsion for five minutes could be a good solution, but you would need timekeepers on the bench,’ Blatter said. ‘It will be back on the agenda next year, at the end of February or start of March when the board will meet again.

    ” ‘Definitely something has to be done,’ he said.”

  98. but one that has only been marginally touched on – the question of what constitutes an “enhancement” that is even asterisk-worthy in the first place.

    An excellant point there, Fluffy. Is that titanium steel pin holding your wrist/knee/ankle/fill in the blank together an unfair or immoral artificial enhancement? How about eyeglasses/contact lenses? People blessed with 20/10 vision could reasonably argue that artificial vision enhancement violates the ethics of pure competition.

    Aside form the complexities of all of that, I’ve got to say I support congressional hearings into baseball steroiids ’cause it keeps the goombahs busy, thus hindering screwing up something that really affects life in these united states.

  99. Speaking of the intellectually incapable, looks like Paul McLeary at the Columbia Journalism Review is bucking for the next open keyboard at The Nation.

    First he accuses the majority of the military blogging community of never serving in the military.

    Then he imagines that Private Second Class Scott Thomas Beauchamp joined the military to serve his country. Two facts (1) that soldier has a title, it should be used appropriately (2) by PV2 Beauchamp’s own words he joined to write a book.

    The whole thing reads like a teenage tantrum without profanity.

    Love this bit opening paragraph two: This childish game of name-calling, mostly led by the know-nothing . . .

    Or farther down, this: While there are some very legitimate questions about what Beauchamp wrote, nothing, it’s worthy of note, has been proved false yet.

    Love that crafty wording. I guess the square bullet business, being able to see dogs to the right of a Bradley from the driver’s compartment and the other things that have been brought out are not quite noteworthy enough for this fellow.

    Seems we are getting closer to “dirt is proof of . . .” defense that I mentioned earlier in this thread.

  100. my concern is that when it comes to religion, there seems to be a general sentiment of disrespect towards religion in general.

    As I excitedly raise my hand-

    Yes, I disrespect religion on a regular basis. I disrespect astrolology adherents, flat earthers, UFO nutcases and all other doctrines that have no valid evidence to back them up. No, “faith” is not evidence.

    That said, religious people are certainly welcome in the libertarian movement. Freedom of religion is a core principle of a libertarian philosophy. Be advised that all opinions, religious or otherwise, will be attacked, dissected and ridiculed in this forum. Overly sensitive people are strongly advised to go elsewhere. I recoommend wearing asbestos underwear while posting on Hit & Run as a precaution.

  101. Does someone has the absolute right to use his/her speech to attack (not “argue with”, but “attack”) and trespass others’ religious sensibilities?

    Yes

    Is it good for the discourse and the libertarian image and/or political strength in society?

    No

    A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.

  102. I’m not aware of any non-libertarian conservative org that thinks the same.

    Any conservative figure or org that advocates a change in drug policy away from the “war” will be called “libertarian”.

    Heres a few individuals
    name some Dems of equal prominence

    Clarence Thomas
    James Baker
    George schultz
    the previous Governor of New Mexico

  103. …..titanium steel pin holding your wrist/knee/ankle/fill in the blank together an unfair or immoral artificial enhancement?…..

    Excellent point but raging debate aside, if a titanium steel pin violates the rules then x-rays are in order.

    Not that I care, mind you. MLB is not the government. If steel pins are cool and steroids aren’t, well, so be it. If the guys who play and the guys who own decide differently, well, that’s okay too.

    That is not to say that we can’t piss and moan about the DH rule or playing night games, or sign stealing, or the big ass strike zone they had for a while, or Bonds and his apparent use of, ahhh, enhancers.

    Just that whether a rule is appropriate or not is up to MLB.

  104. Grande C,

    Their way of looking at the world screams to me that everybody in the world is either a victim or a victimizer, all human existence is without dignity, and we should demand equality by bringing us all down to the level of the most pathetic members of our species.

    Don’t be so coy.
    Just say it.

  105. So what’s up this weekend with the partisan ranting…

    Even for H&R, the level of “the problem with ____________(group of people painted with a broad brush) is that the are _____________(lame hyperbole)” is over the top.

  106. NM,

    That’s just the way all of those Lefties talk 😉

  107. SIV,

    Jimmy Carter

    If Gary Johnson gets points for talk and no action, then so does Carter.

  108. Guy M,

    Self parody?

    ;^)

  109. The Wine Commonsewer?

    “Does someone has the absolute right to use his/her speech to attack (not “argue with”, but “attack”) and trespass others’ religious sensibilities?

    Yes”

    Do you have the absolute right to trespass others’ properties? If not, do you differentiate between physical and abstract/intellectual/religious domains?

    But you make a good point. Unbounded free speech does come at a cost (alienation of others’ who may be attracted to libertarian ideals but are are offended, not by the quality of the arguments, but by the lack of respect they may receive).

    J Sub D:

    “Freedom of religion is a core principle of a libertarian philosophy.”

    Agreed.

    “Be advised that all opinions, religious or otherwise, will be attacked, dissected and ridiculed in this forum.”

    Agreed except for the “ridiculed” part. I think satirical discourse over religion (a la Stephen Colbert for example) is acceptable. But ridicule for the sole purpose of ridicule and offending others is counterproductive.

    “Overly sensitive people are strongly advised to go elsewhere. I recoommend wearing asbestos underwear while posting on Hit & Run as a precaution.”

    Is that your statement or H&R’s? This is exactly the kind of statement, if taken seriously (and I do not!), that may reduce the quality and reputation of the H&R forum (and, consequently, in some part the entire libertarian image).

  110. ” if a titanium steel pin violates the rules then x-rays are in order. ”

    What, then, of titanium exhaust valves?

    “Enhancements” of athletic performance take many forms. Remember the Olympians’ hysteria over professionalism? Isn’t a military sinecure for Soviet hockey players which allows them to devote their lives to the game (and thereby provides them with an advantage over American boys putting in their forty hours down at the sawmill) unfair?

  111. iih | July 29, 2007, 1:29pm

    Course free speech may come with consequences like those whiny flag burners that occasionally get popped in the jaw by burly men who say grace and listen to Toby Keith songs.

    You provoke just the kind of rage your looking to provoke and then complain about the consequences. Course, if you burn the flag in your back yard, nobody would notice.

  112. Jimmy Carter campaigned as a decrim Drug War moderate.As President he “had a change of heart”.

    Here is a quote of him defending the War:

    Marijuana happens to be an illicit drug that’s included under the overall drug control program, and I favor this program very strongly.

    he was referring to spraying marijuana with paraquat, an herbicide believed at the time to be highly toxic to pot smokers.

  113. But TWC,

    Freedom of speech really isn’t about talking to yourself, is it…

    SIV,

    To expand on the Gary Johnson/Carter examples.

    Johnson…waits until he’s lame-duck gov. to start talking about drugs.

    Carter, uses decriminalization as part of his platform to get the Democratic Nomination/elected president.

  114. Isn’t a military sinecure for Soviet hockey players which allows them to devote their lives to the game (and thereby provides them with an advantage over American boys putting in their forty hours down at the sawmill) unfair?

    Sure is. Something even more unfair? The days when American pros were banned from Olympic competition. And you know what happened? Eventually the Olympian Gods decreed that American pros could compete.

    Hmmm. Titanium valves. LOL. I don’t think they are against the rules. 🙂

  115. The point of this being that neither party has done much on the WOD…in terms of scaling back or ending it.

    So why pretend that your preferred party, the republicans, are any better. Unless you are just being partisan?

  116. That last one was for

    SIV

  117. NM, correctomundo, free speech means getting to say what you want without being jailed for it. However, I agree with Rand on this one. The right of free speech does not include the use of a tax-paid megaphone.

  118. NM, The GOP is terrible on WOD. But the original comment that spawned this essentially said that there were no conservatives or conservative orgs that were good on WOD. That isn’t true. And several of us named several conservative republican types to make our case.

  119. TWC,

    Ahhhh. I see.

    So you are saying that SIV wasn’t being partisan then?

  120. The Wine Commonsewer?:

    “You provoke just the kind of rage your looking to provoke and then complain about the consequences.”

    Provoke yes, but complain? No. I really do not want to complain about anything.

    “Course, if you burn the flag in your back yard, nobody would notice.”

    Just like flag burners, who send a strong message at the cost of damaging their public perception (and eventually of ridicule and marginalization), being too liberal in offending those libertarians with religious sentiments (let alone those who may be attracted to libertarianism, but are not quite libertarian yet) may ultimately result in libertarians’ ridicule and marginalization by the general public.

    Ultimately, my concern is not really about religion and its place in libertarian thought (as J Sub D points out above, “Freedom of religion is a core principle of a libertarian philosophy” and there is no controversy about that), but given that an important presidential election is coming up, with a candidate who is looking strong so far, can libertarians afford to be marginalized and ridiculed as irrelevant?

    However, do not misunderstand me. I am not Machiavellian in approach, I do believe that as rational as libertarians are (or should be), I think that being overtly anti-religious is harmful. That is all. Being sensitive to others’ sensibilities (without giving up your right to free speech) aught to be a norm amongst libertarians, otherwise the aggression is not only harmful to the libertarian image, but also runs counter to the respect and protections of others’ rights of owning their physical and abstract possessions.

  121. iih

    For more on the free speech as analogous to property rights debate.

    My simple position.

    Free speech is more basic than property rights, therefore using the restrictions we place on property rights as your guide goes in the wrong direction.

    Example: your basic right to be free of violent assault on your person. I can’t punch you (without your consent) without violating your basic right. But does punching your front yard constitute a breach? Treating humans and property as equivalent leads to vacuous policies, imho.

  122. Don’t look at what they say, look at how they vote.

    The House of Representatives voted yesterday to reject the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment. As a result, state-authorized patients and their caregivers who posses or use medical cannabis will continue to be subject to federal arrest and prosecution.

    The House voted 262 to 165 against the bi-partisan measure, sponsored by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Maurice Hinchey (D-NY). The 165 House votes in favor of the patient-protection provision was the highest total ever recorded in a Congressional floor vote to liberalize marijuana laws. Of those who voted in support of the Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment, 15 were Republicans (a loss of three votes from 2006) and 150 were Democrats (a gain of six votes vote from last year).

    http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=10096411

    TEN TIMES as many democrats as republicans voted the right way on this. For years democrats have not pushed to end the drug war, but have been better at trying to curb increases in sentencing and enforcement.

    I have to give it to them on this issue, if nothing else.

  123. Grande C,

    Nicely done.

    That is the first time I have seen you use numbers well in constructing an argument that compares two groups on a variable of interest.

    (not that I have seen all your attempts, of course).

  124. NM:

    Oh I am not trying to impose any restrictions on free speech. What I am talking about, instead, is self-imposed restrictions on free speech. Call it “political correctness” if you will, but PC is more than just being diplomatic. It also connotes civility, progress, and also a stronger libertarian society with stronger libertarian foundations, regardless of personal beliefs or religious (including believing in nothing at all) creed.

  125. SIV,

    In Grande C’s name shall I declare you the LOSER in the partisan battle over the drug war?

  126. NM:

    Moreover, so while we should have unrestricted rights to free speech, that does not imply an obligation to practice it without restrictions. If nothing else, we aught to be smart in practicing it.

  127. iih,

    The civility that is your goal here is certainly a virtue, but it seems to me that couching it in terms of “rights” is the wrong tact.

    Far too often, imo, discussions are couched in terms of rights that have nothing to do with rights.

    Do people who are insulted have a “right” to complain. Sure. Does that right mean that they have a right to be free of the insult? Does couching this debate in terms of rights guide us towards better behavior?

  128. Grande C, SIV,

    A thought experiment.

    Take a random member of the federal government.
    Measure their position on the war on drugs.
    Predict which party they belong to based only on that measure.

    (Grande C, try the same experiment with IQ and race… much different results)

  129. On another note, Iraq’s soccer team just won the Asian Cup. Can’t wait until GWB and the WH capitalize on this “victory” in Iraq! I guess that was a much needed victory for the WH. I did watch the game, despite how I feel about GWB, these players are good and deserve something to celebrate. So do the Iraqi people.

  130. NM:

    “Do people who are insulted have a “right” to complain. Sure. Does that right mean that they have a right to be free of the insult? Does couching this debate in terms of rights guide us towards better behavior?”

    I think I agree. Making my point using a “rights” argument may be week, but I think the conclusion (regarding civility and winning people over) is correct and good. But something inside says that one is a better libertarian if one treats others’ religious beliefs as sacred as their physical possessions. At least that would be my attitude.

  131. ……have been better at trying to curb increases in sentencing and enforcement.

    Democrats brought us the increase in sentencing and enforcement back in ’86.

    How votes are cast on a losing amendment doesn’t mean very much.

    I’ll ask again……Have any prominent Democrats come out in favor of ending the Drug War?

    It goes against both their statist love of government as well as their progressive instincts.

  132. NM:

    As an example, if I decided to call Zoroastrianism or atheism stupid and start a rant of name calling, just to practice my right to free speech, without providing a legitimate substance for the criticism, is not a very good strategy for hard-core free speech believers in winning the argument.

  133. When Barry Bonds was accused of taking hormone therapy, it wasn’t against the rules. Because of him and others, baseball did make it agasint the rules. Since then, there has been zero evidence he’s violated those rules. So with regards to Barry, the case is pretty clear. There is zero evidence that he “cheated” and the media should stop implying that he did.

    As to the larger question of steroids in sports, of course they should be allowed. As private entities however, sports have every right to set their own internal rules and deal with the consequences. I think many of us on the “mind your own business” side of the enhancement debate are taking great joy at watching the Tour De France implode under pressure of the testing nazis that have taken over that sport.

  134. Hey, I recently discovered this swell vid:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWXspXwTCOs

    Berlin – “No More Words”

  135. NM,

    Yes, I’m finally smart enough to agree with you.

    And trust me, saying something positive about the donkeys is pretty hard for me. I don’t do it often. And I still wouldn’t vote for them even if, to quote Saddam Hussein, you “carved out my eyes”.

    Still, here’s another vote. Congress voted on a bill “Expressing the Sense of Congress That Marijuana is a Dangerous and Addictive Drug and Should Not Be Legalized for Medicinal Use”. Entireley symbolic, but Democrats were 103 yes 86 no, while the Republican count was 207 to 6.

    http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/105/house/2/votes/435/.

    The same pattern will hold for just about any drug related bill you find in the last ten years.

    And Republicans are supposed to be the federalists. Whatever happened to that?

  136. SIV,

    Not all these votes are symbolic. Had the Repubs voted like the dems on the enforcement bill, it would’ve made an actual, real world difference. I remember another bill when the senate was about 50/50 a couple years ago about upping sentences for those convicted of using cocaine. It passed by one or two votes, it was almost straight down party lines. If I remember correctly we have the great Joe Liberman breaking from his party to thank for the bill passing.

  137. Hey Neu Mejican, Chalupa,

    Try this for an “experiment”:
    Find a member of the Federal Judiciary who does not believe the Feds have the Constitutional power to interfere with a State’s drug laws.
    Now guess the party of who appointed him.Extra credit which party lead vigorous opposition to his confirmation.

    Look at the Raich decision, particularly Clarence Thomas’ dissent.

    I would say it is safe to venture most( if not all) libertarian leaning members of the Federal Judiciary were appointed by Republicans.

  138. SIV,

    I will grant you that I’m more likeley to like the reasons why Republicans who oppose the drug war do. If you ask an anti-drug war Republican why they oppose the drug war they will probably say because of federalism or concerns about big government. A dem would say because it disproportionaly effects minorities or the poor or some bullshit.

    I’m still voting Republican, because I believe more damage has been done to the constitution over the last 60 years or so by the judiciary than the legislator among other concerns. Quite siply right now, in congress there are simply much more Ds who oppose the drug war than Rs. You can’t deny that.

  139. Quite simply right now, in congress there are simply much more Ds who oppose the drug war than Rs. You can’t deny that.

    I will deny that absolutely. There are no dems who have come out in opposition to the Drug war.
    The only republican who has, and I’m not %100 sure on him, is Ron Paul.

  140. NM and others who have engaged in the free speech discussion:

    Thanks! I think that was a good, but brief, one. I have to sign off now but will be back in a few hours.

  141. Who here (besides me) recognizes the Islamic Threat that is rapidly consuming Europe?

  142. RealityCheck,

    I do and am a big fan of Mark Steyn’s prophetic work on the subject. Here’s him on the DA that wants to lock some kids up for slapping people on the butt.

    http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/butt-one-mashburn-1789340-counts-cornelison

  143. Chalupa-

    I read something interesting in this area recently (will try to find the article) that said Spain and Italy are increasingly replacing Islamic guest workers with Latin Americans (esp. from Peru).

  144. Grande C,

    I have never doubted you were smart even in our discussions on race. If I did, I wouldn’t have bothered trying to convince you that your position was(is?) based on faulty logic and a misunderstanding of the science if I thought you weren’t “smart enough.”

    I try, usually, not to take a position in my discussions on the internet. I am certainly not taking a position here. I was just pointing out that SIV’s list doesn’t really move the discussion much. Your votes example is a much more evidence-based approach. It forced SIV to change tactics. It seems like he is still arguing not based on evidence, but from a biased view. But you have forced him to find better data to cherry pick.

    Democrats brought us the increase in sentencing and enforcement back in ’86.

    Can you be more specific here? Bill/law? What was the vote count. Was the opposition to this increase stronger or weaker among Republicans than among Democrats? Who sponsored the bill?

  145. RealityCheck:

    I really have to go, but out of curiosity, which specific threat are you talking about exactly? The threat that they exterminate the Europeans from Europe, or the threat that, through their peaceful and legal existence (I am not talking about illegals) as that of any other European citizen regardless of origin, live and contribute to society through lawful means?

  146. SIV,

    Find a member of the Federal Judiciary who does not believe the Feds have the Constitutional power to interfere with a State’s drug laws.

    Are you really asking about drug laws here or the broader question of federalism? Clearly republicans are more federalist, on average, than democrats (kind of shows up in the party names, actually).

    It is possible to be against the WOD for other reasons. You are conflating issues.

  147. I really have to go, but out of curiosity, which specific threat are you talking about exactly? The threat that they exterminate the Europeans from Europe, or the threat that, through their peaceful and legal existence (I am not talking about illegals) as that of any other European citizen regardless of origin, live and contribute to society through lawful means?

    The threat that they are outbreeding Europeans, therefore setting the stage to take control of those countries through breeding in the future. Then, they will institute their Islamic values (female genital mutilation, burkas, outlawing of alcohol and pork etc) on those countries.

    France will look like Algeria in the future.

    Did I make myself clear?

  148. Democrats brought us the increase in sentencing and enforcement back in ’86.

    Balko on it here
    http://www.theagitator.com/archives/026710.php#026710

    Dems controlled Congress then by a large margin

  149. RealityCheck:

    Who here (besides me) recognizes the Islamic Threat that is rapidly consuming Europe?

    The “Islamic Threat” is way overblown, racist in its conception, and as misnamed as the ridiculous “war on terror”. Europe’s gone thru this type of nonsense before. In the 1920’s the “Jewish Peril” was the big fuss and fret, particularly in Britain.

  150. RealityCheck:

    Can you cite evidence that genital mutilation is an Islamic value?

  151. In the 1920’s the “Jewish Peril” was the big fuss and fret, particularly in Britain.

    Rick, true enuff but the Jews weren’t making the pleasure of a mug of beer and plate of wiener schnitzel at a sidewalk cafe into a seriously risky proposition.

    As an aside, the Muslim section of Paris is reputed to make Camden look like a nice place to picnic

  152. Democrats brought us the increase in sentencing and enforcement back in ’86.

    That’s true, and we’re still paying a hideous price.

  153. RealityCheck:

    Yes, you have made yourself very clear indeed (what are you trying to scare me?). As I see it, while there are concerns in Europe regarding Muslims and their integration into society. Integration does not only mean “converting” or changing European Muslims, but also how society can better accommodate them and their needs. Mark Steyn just likes to cherry-pick (are you him by the way?).

    My sister was just in Venice and the northeastern region of Italy and she had commented to me about the significant number of Muslims in the area. We discussed it and she also remarked on how as citizens they were (1) respected in general and (2) they respected society and the law.

    That does not say that their are no anxieties on both sides, or that there is no reason to get concerned. There are issues and really difficult ones, but Mark Steyn’s “prophecies” and his “proposed solutions” are quite draconian, in my humble opinion.

    Now regarding the “breeding” thing. If Muslims like to have sex, lots of sex, and have a lot of kids, so? You blame them for the Europeans’ lack of interest in breeding? may be European governments, like China, should put rules against having more than one child? This is quite a ridiculous argument I think. Is that all what you can muster?

    Regarding “female genital mutilation, burkas, outlawing of alcohol and pork”, let me ask you: Other than the Taleban (who are really not the ones in Europe by the way), Saudia Arabia (even this is contestable, especially regarding genital mutilation), may be Somalia, what is the percentage of (1) Muslim parents who perform female genital mutilation, and (2) force women to wear burkas? Or how many countries (other than Taliban and SA) outright outlaw alcohol and pork?

    Genital mutilation in particular is an African traition that African Muslims inherited from their ancestors. Mutilation of female genitals is outlawed in many countries that identify as Muslim (e.g., Egypt).

    P.S. Don’t expect me reply to your next post as I am leaving.

  154. Rick Barton:

    All very good points.

    I think that RealityCheck and Grand Chalupa (if they are not one and the same person) are just trying to test me out regarding the earlier discussion I had regarding the balance between free speech and respect for others’ sensibilities. If that was the intent, do they think I am dumb to fall to this kind of thing?

  155. RealityCheck:

    Then, they will institute their Islamic values (female genital mutilation, burkas, outlawing of alcohol and pork etc)

    The only unfair thing would be if they forced Islamic values on others thru law. Bur note that it was the French government that made the wearing of Islamic regalia illegal in certain situations.

    Also, if these Muslims were so bent on outlawing alcohol and pork, they’d start with the many countries that have Muslim majorities but have no legal prohibition against pork and alcohol.

  156. SIV,

    You mean this law, I assume.
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d099:H.R.5484:

    Looks like almost unanimous support (2 senator and 16 reps voting against).

    Not sure it is a good example of how Republicans are stronger advocates for ending the WOD (Signed by a very federalist president, no?).

    I don’t have time (or interest) in tracking down the votes in opposition.

  157. anyone care to comment on the hoo-hah in ny about a guy being charged with felony hate crimes for flushing a koran? is it for real or is it blog hyperventilation?

  158. Rick, are there many Islamic countries that allow alcohol sales? Serious question. I can’t think of any but perhaps the UAE. Maybe a couple that allow sales to tourists.

    In any case, as we all agree, a free society is one in which one can purchase and consume alcohol without the risk of public caning.

  159. If he owned the Koran, well, hey, ain’t no different than burning a flag.

  160. The threat that they are outbreeding Europeans

    Human behavior is economic behavior.

    What’s it cost to bring an upper class baby along to adulthood? Food, clothes, medical, dental, education…all out of pocket costs for the upper classes.

    Thanks to social welfare programs, a low-ender family hatching a baby usually sses an increase in their financial take/quality of life as a result.

    Given the economic incentives, who’s gonna have more babies?

    That indigenous pops are getting outbred by imports is largely a result of our 20th century economic overlords’ shortsighted lust for the profits that dirt cheep labor affords.

  161. Except that flushing a Koran is kind of rude.

  162. Republicans are stronger advocates for ending the WOD

    I never said this.
    In every exchange we have you make up statements or positions for me.Particularly when you want to avoid what I actually said. Waste of time arguing with you.

  163. The Wine Commonsewer?:

    Rick, true enuff but the Jews weren’t making the pleasure of a mug of beer and plate of wiener schnitzel at a sidewalk cafe into a seriously risky proposition.

    Fair point. (Unless btw, we’re talking Palestine prior to the creation of Israel, where the terrorists were Jewish and the targets were the occupying British military) I’m just saying that one of the things wrong about the current the anti-Muslim agitation, as with the former anti-Jewish agitation, is the error of blaming the transgressions of the few on the many.

  164. OK… OK… I still happen to be around…

    Sale of alcohol in at least: Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, some parts of UAE (as well as other provinces in other Gulf states) is not outlawed. Now that does not mean that if you go there you will find alcohol sales all over the place. If there is no demand do not expect huge sales. Going to the nightclub district of Cairo (yes there is a nightclub with almost nude belly dancers), alcohol is both on sale and is consumed.

    I can also say that there is no “penalty” in the Quran for drinking alcohol. There is a command against drinking in, selling/buying, or “transferring” alcohol. In fact, alcohol consumption was prohibited over stages, starting with a simple “recommendation” against drinking before praying, to outright prohibition. Again, I am not aware of a penalty for drinking it.

  165. I have to give it to them on this issue, if nothing else.

    I dont. If the Dem leadership truly cared about the issue, they would have twisted arms, held open the vote for a few extra hours to get enough people to switch, threatened cuts in pork spending, etc.

    If they had done that AND still come up short I would give the Dems some kudos on the WOD issue.

  166. rick, do you define attacks on military targets as terrorism? to me, that cheapens the word. an attack on a pizzaria or a seder is very different than an attack on a military installation. i cringe every time an attack on israeli soldiers is termed “terrorism.”

  167. anyone care to comment on the hoo-hah in ny about a guy being charged with felony hate crimes for flushing a koran? is it for real or is it blog hyperventilation?

    I don’t know if it’s for real, Edna. But if it is, it’s one hugely egregious misuse of law. If he stole the Koran, he should be charged with theft, and that’s all.

  168. Rick Barton,

    I urge you to look at some poll numbers of Muslims in Britain for example. Forty percent (!) of young Muslims there prefer Sharia law. This is a fast growing group and they will be voting. Watch Europe for the next few decades, things will be very interesting.

    http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/96046.aspx

  169. iih-

    Are you really Egyptian? Because if you were you would know that the rates of female genital mutilation in Egypt are 90% and above. As a country its near the top in the % females that are subjected to this “tradition”.

  170. Who here (besides me) recognizes the Islamic Threat that is rapidly consuming Europe?

    Charles Martel was a Frank. Im convinced (on no basis whatsoever) that there is some cheese eating surrender monkey with a latent “hammer” gene who will take care of the problem, if necessary.

  171. Republicans are stronger advocates for ending the WOD

    I never said this.

    Fair enough. Let me rephrase it. This doesn’t look like a good example of how Democrats are worse than Republicans, which is closer to the reading I make of your string of comments.

    e.g.,
    Quite simply right now, in congress there are simply much more Ds who oppose the drug war than Rs. You can’t deny that.

    I will deny that absolutely…

  172. Again, that last one was for SIV.

    I’ll see your Ron Paul with a Dennis Kucinich.

    Again, if your position is that Democrats are part of the problem in regards to the WOD, that is not in dispute. If your position is that Democrats are more of a problem, I would need more compelling evidence. If you position is that Democrats are just as much of a problem, I would again need more compelling evidence. If your position is that Republicans are the party most likely to end the WOD, I would just laugh.

  173. I boo Bonds because he’s a prick, I could give a shit about steroids.

  174. edna,

    rick, do you define attacks on military targets as terrorism? to me, that cheapens the word. an attack on a pizzaria or a seder is very different than an attack on a military installation. i cringe every time an attack on israeli soldiers is termed “terrorism.”

    No, I don’t define attacks on military targets as terrorism. I fully agree with you. When I wrote that post, I was thinking that I should make the distinction and point out that some of the targets of that Jewish terrorism were British civilians attendant to the occupation. (BTW, come to think of it, even that example seems to fit the terrorism definition less well than your example of an attack on a pizzaria or a seder (assuming it’s in Isreal proper)-or an attack on innocent Palestinian civillians by the Israeli military)

    Also BTW, besides this point about terrorism that you made, I think that another good one to stress is that governments directly commit terrorism as well. Terrorism is the violent victimization of innocent civilians for political purposes (Or extortion using the threat of the same).

  175. assuming it’s in Isreal proper

    what is “israel proper?” 1948? 1949? 1967? 1973? What would make one date magic and the others not?

    i would somewhat disagree with your definition of terrorism. may i slightly reword it? “the violent victimization of civilians for political purposes by attacks deliberately targeting them.” this would exclude the collateral damage when terrorists and soi-disant militants carry out “operations” under civilian cover and make full propaganda use of the defensive response. it would also exclude the “they could be soldiers out of uniform or kids who will grow up to be soldiers” excuse.

  176. Rick, are there many Islamic countries that allow alcohol sales? Serious question. I can’t think of any but perhaps the UAE. Maybe a couple that allow sales to tourists.

    The Wine Commonsewer?, A Palestinian chess buddy of mine (now a US citizen, btw) told me that he used to go to Dubai in the UAE to buy it and that you can in Lebanon and a couple other Arab Muslim countries as well. There are also the non-Arab Muslim countries.

  177. edna,

    Pre 1967 border cuz that land seized after that war is so clearly an occupation.

    Yes, I agree with your addition, “by attacks deliberately targeting them”. It’s more rigorous with that addition. And I think that we also have to condemn attacks against military that are purposely broad enough to unnecessarily catch some innocent civilians for whatever pretext that might be used.

  178. Grand Chalupa,

    Thanks for the link. I wanna split now but I’ll read it later.

  179. http://themoderatevoice.com/category/society/drugs/

    More on that medical MJ vote.

    elow, I’ve laid of the U.S. House roll call vote for the latest Medical Marijuana amendment as well as the roll call votes for the similarly worded amendments from the previous three years:

    2007’s Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment:

    ?????????? AYES??????. NOES??????. NV
    Republican????? 15???????.. 183???????. 5
    Democrat????? 150???????? 79???????. 5
    —————————-
    Totals??????.. 165???????.. 262??????.. 10

    % of Republicans who supported the amendment: 7.4%
    % of Democrats who supported the amendment: 64.1%
    % of U.S. House that supported the amendment: 37.8%

    2006’s Farr-Rohrabacher Amendment:

    ?????????? AYES??????. NOES??????. NV
    Republican????? 18???????.. 206???????. 6
    Democrat????? 144???????? 53???????. 4
    Independent????? 1
    —————————-
    Totals??????.. 163???????.. 259??????.. 10

    % of Republicans who supported the amendment: 7.8%
    % of Democrats who supported the amendment: 71.6%
    % of U.S. House that supported the amendment: 37.7%

    2005’s Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment:

    ?????????? AYES??????. NOES??????. NV
    Republican????? 15???????.. 210???????. 5
    Democrat????? 145???????? 54???????. 3
    Independent?????.1
    —————————-
    Totals??????.. 161???????.. 264???????. 8

    % of Republicans who supported the amendment: 6.5%
    % of Democrats who supported the amendment: 71.8%
    % of U.S. House that supported the amendment: 37.2%

    2004’s Farr-Rohrabacher Amendment:

    ?????????? AYES??????. NOES??????. NV
    Republican????? 19???????.. 202???????. 6
    Democrat????? 128???????? 66??????? 11
    Independent????? 1
    —————————-
    Totals??????.. 148???????.. 268??????? 17

    % of Republicans who supported the amendment: 8.4%
    % of Democrats who supported the amendment: 62.4%
    % of U.S. House that supported the amendment: 34.2%

  180. Tony Stewart won the Brickyard 400.

  181. Ok I am back.

    RealityCheck:

    You saying that FGM is practiced “90% or above” does not truly make it practiced “90% or above”.

    Recently, there has been a controversy over the practice when a child in rural Egypt died while undergoing circumcision. An uproar followed which resulted in a Fatwa prohibiting the practice and outright outlawing it. The response to the death of the child is an indication that it is not quite widespread as the state department seems to imply:

    http://www.state.gov/g/wi/rls/rep/crfgm/10096.htm

    I somewhat distrust the state department on this. If FGM is “widely practiced”, why don’t they give percentages? I think it is one of those issues overblown out of proportion to pressure the Egyptian government to comply to other political demands, as opposed to pure love for Egyptian females. After all, if they are giving USAID money to Egypt, shouldn’t we as tax payers demand that we receive accurate and precise information.

    Here is another resourse that I think gives a balanced view of the situation in Egypt:

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/fem_cirm.htm

    It clearly indicates that there is nothing in the Quran that supports FGM. Finally, once this issue of FGM is raised, I wonder how in the world could any one justify it based on any religious reasoning. After all the Quran explicitly states that “And protect your private parts”, which includes extra-marital prohibitions as well as implies physical protection against mutilation.

    The general wisdom is: If God created a part of the body, why would we mutilate it?” Other than for medical reasons, any form of mutilation is not condoned in Islam.

    By the way, the practice is performed by Muslims and Christians alike, especially in the countryside.

  182. The general wisdom is: If God created a part of the body, why would we mutilate it?”

    Haha, then tell me why religions practice any circumcision.

    Percentages http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/43/Fgm_map.gif

    are there.

    Egypt doesn’t look so good.

    Yes, other Third Worlders practice it too. But now it is being preformed in western country a result of liberal open door immigration policies.

    It sickens me to think this practice is now happening increasingly in western nations.

    And you should now since you are Muslim, you don’t go by only the Koran but by the Hadiths also, some of which support FGM (and other barbaric acts, like the killing of apostates).

  183. rick, would you consider gaza and west bank to have been occupied pre-’67? pre-’49? pre-’48? pre-’18? under which rule was it not occupied and why?

    please excuse me for being pesky; i’m just trying to understand your thinking, because we agree on much, yet come to very different conclusions.

  184. Rick:

    In Egypt, while there are no “liquor stores”, you can walk into any hotel (widespread in the major cities and all tourist sites) and some upper class grocery stores and get wines and alcohol. Elsewhere, since there is no demand for it, you will not find much alcohol sales. The Coptic population, by the way, can get the pork and alcohol if they want, but due to a “pan-Egyptian” cultural dominance over the last couple of hundred years (during which time, rule in Egypt was from from being Islamic — it was predominantly progressive and secular) do not drink or eat pork as much because they got accustomed to the practice — i.e., of being sober and avoid the (unclean?) pork meet.

  185. RealityCheck:

    “Haha, then tell me why religions practice any circumcision.”

    It is not my duty to defend religious practices in general. All I can confirm is that it is not a practice condoned in Islam.

    “Percentages http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/43/Fgm_map.gif

    are there.

    Egypt doesn’t look so good.”

    (1) Since when is Wikipedia considered are legitimate reference? I can simply photo-edit the figure and it would be favorable. Regardless, what is the source of this figure? Even if true, I can see that the diagram shows 95-100 percent in pretty much the saharah part of Egypt, where 1% of the population resides. The remaining is mainly in the Northern part of the country and right next to the Nile river banks.

    (2) Even if true, I would add, how does this relate to FGM being imposed in Europe? If you look at the picture that *you* provide, North Africans (other than Egyptians), who constitute the majority of Muslim immigrants to Europe, do not do the practice!

    “And you should now since you are Muslim, you don’t go by only the Koran but by the Hadiths also, some of which support FGM (and other barbaric acts, like the killing of apostates).”

    Oh my God! Have you actually read the second link I provided? There is a single hadith that is widely unaccepted. I dare you that you find a single hadith that unequivocally supports your thesis.

    Here is the quote from that website just in case your browser is not working:

    “According to the Muslim Women’s League:

    “Those who advocate for FGM from an Islamic perspective commonly quote the following hadith to argue that it is required as part of the Sunnah or Tradition of the Prophet:

    ‘Um Atiyyat al-Ansariyyah said: A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (pbuh) said to her: Do not cut too severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband’.” 1,8

    One interpretation of this passage is that the woman was going to proceed with the circumcision anyway; Muhammad suggested that she remove a smaller amount of her genitalia than she had perhaps intended to.

    This passage is regarded by many Muslims as having little credibility or authenticity. The Muslim Women’s League comments: “According to Sayyid Sabiq, renowned scholar and author of Fiqh-us-Sunnah, all hadiths concerning female circumcision are non-authentic.” 1 An extensive analysis of classical Muslim authors is available online. 2″

    And in case your browser works, here is the link:

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/fem_cirm.htm

    Finally, it seems that the “breeding” thing did not quite work for you. So you move to FGM, then it is something else, and then something else. Dare I see you have some particular agenda that you are trying to push for?

    If you do not like Muslims, just say it. Why the games? I won’t be offended? I do not like all people in the world either, especially that I have not met most of them, so why would I like or hate them? Have you met any Muslims?

  186. RealityCheck:

    Just to conclude (I have to get some dinner):

    1. I do not contest the thesis that FGM exists in Muslim countries (especially Somalia, Ethiopia [a significantly Christian country], and Eriteria, and to a far less extent in Egypt), but
    2. FGM is not condoned by Islam, and finally,
    3. Ok, FGM does not quite make it as the danger Muslims pose in Europe, what is your follow-up danger that Muslims pose in Europe?

  187. I fondly recall my high school wrestling years, wrestling at a weight class 15 pounds below my natural weight and often having to sweat off 10 pounds over 2 days before a match, drinking nothing except what I could suck from a few carefully weighed ice cubes.

    It was totally insance, because dehydrating yourself and “cutting weight” like that did not enhance your wrestling ability but obviously detracted from it, but every serious wrestler had to do it cause everyone else did it and if you didn’t you’d wind up wrestling somebody with a lot more muscle mass than you (someone whose natural weight is 15 pounds heavier than you who did cut the weight).

    From what I hear in the years since I wrestled they’ve adopted some reforms by which they measure at the beginning of the season a wrestler’s weight AND level of hydration at that weight and assign a minimum weight class accordingly.

    I look at steroids the same way. My understanding is that overall they are not “healthy” or safe, though they undoubtedly improve performance. Yet many athletes may feel pressured to take them because if they don’t they likely will be one-upped by everyone else who feels it necessary to take these unhealthy and unsafe drugs.

    If it could ever be shown that these drugs were totally safe and healthy, just as healthy and safe as, e.g., the “artificial enhancement” that comes from running every day and lifting weights and eating right, that might be a different story. But I don’t think that day will ever come. Of course, before that day (and after that day), you could always set up separate leagues, one where roids are permitted and one where they’re not.

  188. iih –

    Muslims in Europe commit more crimes than natives, including a Muslim Rape Wave in Sweden.

    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=20552

    Parts of France and Belgium are not even accessible to the police because their crime rates are so high. And what about the French Islamic infitadah in 2005?

  189. RealityCheck:

    hahaaaa… didn’t I predict that this is exactly what you will do next. FGM did not quite do the job, so lets see… hmmm… how about rape… oh those awful Muslim rapists… and where do you get your information from… FrontPageMagazine of all places!

    Let me quote from the article that *YOU* cite:

    “The number of rapes committed by Muslim immigrants in Western nations ARE SO EXTREMELY HIGH that it is difficult to view them only as random acts of individuals. It resembles warfare. Muhammad himself had forced sex (rape) with several of his slave girls/concubines. This is perfectly allowed, both in the sunna and in the Koran. If you postulate that many of the Muslims in Europe view themselves as a conquering army and that European women are simply war booty, it all makes perfect sense and is in full accordance with Islamic law.”

    Ok…

    (1) How many rapes is “are so extremely high”? That is quite some scientific data they provide there! Give me numbers!

    (2) If the article is to claim that

    “Muhammad himself had forced sex (rape) with several of his slave girls/concubines. This is perfectly allowed, both in the sunna and in the Koran.”

    at least the author should cite some references to explicit Quranic or text from Sunnah? (Ok, I know, even if Muhammad *may* have married an 11 year old, just say so and I will provide opinions to the contrary, he did not rape anyone!) that shows that rape is “perfectly allowed” in Islam.

    Ok I think I may have had enough. Please, please, just educate yourself. Have an open mind. Please do not rely on just Wikipedia and FrontPageMag for your information! After all hating someone or some other group of people is quite a big undertaking, so I would think that you may want to at least hate them for the right reasons! Terrorism may be?

    P.S. By the way, the “French Intifada” was really not religiously-based. These were poor children of immigrants who suffer from discrimination (as well as other youth who are of French ancestry — i.e., white) and poor living conditions. In fact, there are claims that the French riots were primarily due to an incident in which 2 immigrant youth were electrocuted as a result of a police chase:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4413964.stm

    Finally, African non-Arab immigrants were also participants in the riots.

  190. William F. Buckley is indeed a conservative icon, but he is not a conservative organization, which is what I asked for. Of course I could name dozens, maybe hundreds of liberal activist who rail against much of the drug war. Conservatives trot out four or five. I could also name many liberal organizations that oppose many facets of the war on drugs (those against mandatory minimums are rarely conservatives for example). Don’t hold your breath waiting for Heritage or the Family Research Council to do the same. Liberals are just better on this issue. It’s hard to imagine liberals getting as fired up over a candidate admitting to smoking pot as conservatives did about Clinton (or remember the GOP’s charge back in the Nixon days that the Dems were the “party of acid”). Conservatives are also the “law and order” party and so have always warmly welcomed what they see as higher deterrent policies. They tend to think that civil liberties (a potentially major restraint on the drug war) create technicalities which free “bad guys.”
    Yes, Democrats played a large role in passing some of the nuttier drug laws in 1986 (Tip O’Neil seemed to take it seriously that Len Bias would not play for the Celtics), but the only opposition to those laws came from Democrats, including nay votes from current Dem leaders Barney Frank and John Conyers. A motivation for that was plainly to keep the President at the time (you guys remember Reagan’s view on drugs don’t ya?) from using this issue like a big club on the Dems. The Congressional Black Caucus has been a voice of dissent on many WOD issues as well (and they are all Democrats). And of course on the issue of medical marijuana the Dems are demonstrably better as the vote I posted clearly showed.
    Don’t get me wrong, the Dems have their problems. Under Clinton there were more federal drug prosecutions than under Bush I. And if your drug of choice is nicotine then they are easily the more unlibertarian. But overall conservatives have little sympathy for drug users whom they see as pot smoking pinko hippies violating order. Self identified Democrats are more likely to favor legalization of pot: http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/pdf/t268.pdf
    and more likely to favor medical marijuana: http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/pdf/t269.pdf
    That ain’t great but its a start and currently where the only real opposition to the WOD comes from…

  191. iih,

    The Islamic problem in Europe is real and serious. Above I linked to a poll that showed 40% of young Muslim Brits would rather live under Sharia law. And don’t tell me its a reaction to discrimination or any other nonsense, because often these are second generation kids who are more extreme than their parents (for comparison, 17% of those 55 and above want Sharia law). A majority of young muslims in that country also say that someone who leaves their faith should be put to death! This isn’t just talk either, there’s been a shocking number of honor killings.

    Europe has a growing minority that is openly hostile to its values. Politicans have already been chased out of their countries and some conservatives on immigration are living under police protection. Native Europeans are breeding themselves out of exitence and we’re sure to see some serious conflicts in the not too distant future.

  192. I boo Bonds because he’s a prick, I could give a shit about steroids.

    Timothy,

    Yeah, but he’s on my fantasy baseball team, so he is helping me to keep your team in last place. 🙂

    (is an open thread an appropriate venue for smack talk? Fuck it…I’m smacky…I’ll talk smack when I want to. They don’t call me smacky for nothing.)

  193. Ridiculous to try to categorize “single issue”
    groups as liberal or conservative because by the very nature of trying to appeal across party/ideology lines they will avoid this.

    Is LEAP a conservative or liberal organization?

    They want to end the drug war but they are all cops including many former drug enforcers.

    I’d bet they trend conservative.

    You can bet most lefties consider CATO and REASON to be “Right-Wing” groups.

    Charlie Rangel of the BCC is as staunch a drug warrior as Orin Hatch.

    You operate under the assumption that anti-prohibition can’t be conservative.
    Try:
    Thomas Sowell
    Walter Williams (regular Rush Limbaugh substitute host as well as notable economist)
    WF Buckley
    James Baker (the man who helped Bush “steal” Florida- Reagans former chief of staff)

    George Schultz
    Ron Paul

    Members of the Hoover Institute
    Wouldn’t be shocked if there are a few at the Heritage Foundation.

    I’m still waiting on those liberal democrats…. Neu Mejican /Mr Nice guy/Ken

  194. Chalupa,

    Now this is a more serious discussion to have:

    “The Islamic problem in Europe is real and serious. Above I linked to a poll that showed 40% of young Muslim Brits would rather live under Sharia law. And don’t tell me its a reaction to discrimination or any other nonsense, because often these are second generation kids who are more extreme than their parents (for comparison, 17% of those 55 and above want Sharia law). A majority of young muslims in that country also say that someone who leaves their faith should be put to death! This isn’t just talk either, there’s been a shocking number of honor killings.”

    I agree that this is quite alarming. But the solution should not be reactionary. We should not fall into trying to fulfill apocalyptic prophesies that are the creation of ignorance and fear. The solution should adhere to Western democratic values. If European countries want to reduce Muslim quotas in their immigration policies, they are free to do so. Canada and the US already have guidelines that determine quotas from countries of origin. I believe that most European countries have similar policies.

    The real question is about existing Muslim citizens of the European Union. What I see happening in many European countries is that the “threat” is clearly identified. The question is: What is the “threat”? Is it Muslim citizenry or is it something more specific? How about “radicalism” as opposed to “just being Muslim”? Once the threat is identified, how would the Europeans deal with it legitimately and within the bounds of European ideals?

    By the way, it is in the best interest of everyone in the West to identify the correct threat. The threat is not the Muslims’ “Muslim” identity (by the way, a lot of Muslims, especially here in the US are very well-educated and perform services critical to the US’s maintaining its position as # 1 in science and technology. There is a large Muslim section of French, British and German immigrant society who faithfully contribute to the economic, scientific and cultural progress of their host countries and new-found homelands. I, for one, am an active and proud contributer to this country’s scientific community. I am Muslim, is this a problem?

    Now if we mis-identify the true threat, we will be fighting the wrong war altogether. The threat as I see it is radicalism. The question is: How do we handle this threat in Western societies without violating the basic tenets of freedom and liberty? If instead we diagnose the threat as just the “Muslim threat”, we will be fighting the wrong fight that may have consequences worse than the situation we are in. This is exactly GWB’s mistake in fighting terrorism in Iraq instead of Afghanistan or Northwestern Pakistan. There was a mis-diagnosis of the threat that fired back by committing all the troops to the wrong (and now newly-found) threat and leaving the real threat to grow and flourish.

    Two last quick comments: (1) I am Muslim (and of Egyptian origin as noted above), but I distrust the Muslim Brotherhood for example. I am for Muslim rights and freedoms, within certain bounds that respect others’ rights and liberties. I am for free elections in countries like Egypt. If the MB comes to power, I will be very nervous because they do not discuss how they are going to deal with issues relating to personal freedoms. Do you see my point. I am for Muslims to flourish because they are not the threat. The threat is the tentative MB’s radicalism.

    (2) Above I say things like “we in the West”. I include myself, as a member of this society, in the fight against not only extremism, including Muslim radicalism, but also against ignorance about Islam and Muslims. If the west has a good understanding of the Muslim identity, it will be in a far superior position to defeat radicalism, especially within its boundaries. As I say above, they will be able to efficiently fight this danger with a far smaller cost.

  195. Jeez Slightly Impaired Voter, you really are a very, very slow person…Did you get your current job under Operation Bootstrap or do you get disability checks?
    Sure, you can name a handful of columnists and one or two former officials that are conservatives that have questioned the WOD. Do you really want me to name all the liberals who oppose the drug war, from Daily Kos to Nadine Strossen to George Soros to Ramsey Clark to Kucinich to…? Nearly every academic article critical of the drug war was written by a liberal (just go to Googlescholar and google away, there are many, many articles critical of the drug war [warning: as these are academic articles many of them are long and use big words that may confuse, bore or anger you]). Acadame is full of liberals and the opposition to the war on drugs is very heavy there. I asked for you to bring up a conservative org that has taken a stance on decriminalization or legalilization like the ACLU or Soros’ groups have. You can’t provide one. There is no shame in that. Just about everyone knows that conservatives tend to hate unconventional things, which is what drugs seem to be to them, and that they support law and order. Drugs are not something conservatives are going to warm up to.
    The sad thing is your total inability to grasp, well, numbers. Several of us have given you the numbers that the majority of Dems in Congress consistently vote (not talk) to allow medical marijuana, that the only opposition to the 1986 laws were Dems, that self-identified Dems favor legalization and allowing medical pot more than GOPers…And you respond with this piece of scintillating empirical evidence: “Wouldn’t be shocked if there are a few at the Heritage Foundation.” Damn, that’s some math phobia that is stunning. I hope you are a nice fellow, because you sure are dumb my friend…

  196. Oh and by the way, before commencing on any violent/extreme treatment of the “Muslim threat” Western nations (actually just the US because the Europeans are far fra from retrying war on such a large scale after WWII), unlike Nicaragua, Panama, Grenada, Iraq (27 Million), or even the USSR (300 Million people), there are 1.2 Billion Muslims. The West would better be very smart about this. Not getting this right is extremely dangerous.

  197. I originally responded to Chalupa’s statement that the Dems were better for ending the drug war than Reps. I stated I was unconvinced. I remain so.
    As happens here often the argument was going in circles. For what its worth I maintain that Conservative (Right Wing) ideology is more amenable to changing institutions and policy than is the liberal/leftist “Progressive” ideology that spawned the prohibition.

    I’d like to see reform that is hands off and encourages personal responsibility as well as restoring property rights ( to “owning” drugs, our bodies and our lives).

    Increased bureacracy , taxes, regulations and the substitution of therapeutic sanction for legal penalty might be preferable to what we have now but it is not the direction I want to see things go.

  198. Funny how all of you have to resort to attacking me rather than my points (which you avoid).
    Are there any logical fallacies you haven’t resorted to?

    “Medical marijuana” is only the tip of the iceberg of drug prohibition. Votes that don’t matter and don’t count; which show more Dems than Republicans resortng to a Federalist position-on this one issue- counter to their usual Party ideology is meaningless. The Raich decision had all your lefty legal minds lined up with supporting the Feds vs the States on Medical MJ. That ideology is what allows things like the WoDs to even happen at all.

  199. SIV,

    I’m still waiting on those liberal democrats…. Neu Mejican

    I am sorry.
    I thought the names I had provided would be enough.

    You provided one fringe presidential candidate on the republican side, so I provided two on the democratic side. You cited a rep. ex-governor, I gave you a dem. ex-president. What good would the continued tit-for-tat do?

    When you pull away from individual voices, the numbers that count themselves as conservatives or Republicans and are calling for the end to the WOD are less than those that count themselves as liberals or Democrats.

    Again… if your point is to dissuade people from “the assumption that anti-prohibition can’t be conservative,” then there is no need as far as I am concerned. I don’t hold that assumption.

    If your point is that conservative Republicans in general hold a more libertarian view on drugs than liberal Democrats, then you need to provide more compelling evidence.

  200. NM:

    Side question: How do you do bold, links and italics?

  201. SIV,

    For what its worth I maintain that Conservative (Right Wing) ideology is more amenable to changing institutions and policy than is the liberal/leftist “Progressive” ideology that spawned the prohibition.

    Thank you for a more direct statement.
    If this is your point, why not say it in the first place?

    So given that this is your point, I don’t see a lot of ideological reason to buy into it, and still less empirical evidence. This mainly comes from the difficulty in defining “Right Wing.” Given your previous postings, I would guess you equate libertarian and Right Wing, at least to an extent (SIV: “All republicans should be libertarians”). So you might be able to define your way into a Victory on the issue, but it won’t resonate much outside of your own head.

    That gets back to Grande C’s comment earlier. He likes the reasoning used by the Republicans that oppose the drug war better than the reasoning of the liberals. But there is a big gap between the reasoning and the politics that get it implemented. The Democratic base is more likely to support decriminalization than the Republicans (c.f., the Carter vs. Gary Johnson examples…Carter used decriminalization to get elected…Johnson avoided the issue to get elected). This support is more likely to lead to an implemented change than would be predicted from the Republican side of the aisle.

    Since we are examining faulty underlying assumptions… have you considered the chance that you are working under one yourself?

    [other than the whole seeing Mr. Nice Guy in every shadow thing]

    ;^)

  202. Let us see if I can show you without it showing up…

    to bold you place the word(s) between brackets [b]Word[/b].

    But don’t use square brackets… use the ones like this “>”

    To do italic is the same except replace the “b” with an “i”

  203. NM:

    Thanks very much. Oh that is easy.

    Lets see if that worked… just previewed it and it worked! What about links other online material?

  204. The above was for iih…

    Don’t have the link tags in my vocabulary. Others who do might chime in…


  205. If your point is that conservative Republicans in general hold a more libertarian view on drugs than liberal Democrats, then you need to provide more compelling evidence.

    see verything I’ve written above

    I won’t resort to Mr Nice Guy’s insults but try comprehending what you read. I maintain that the elected legislators are equally bad( for sake of argument anyways- of the fringe congressman/Presidential candidates Ron Paul’s views on Drug Policy are substantially different than Kucinich’s- more libertarian lets say).

    Late for me here in EDT but next time the issue arises I’d like to hear your ideas of what “Drug Policy Reform” actually are. Mine are similar to MikeP’s views on immigration-only with less restriction and regulation( heh heh!).

  206. NM:

    Many thanks!

  207. SIV,

    I won’t resort to Mr Nice Guy’s insults but try comprehending what you read.

    Ha. Try writing something comprehensible…/8^)

  208. Oops must close tags

  209. I hope I don’t have to read joe’s book…

  210. iih

    use i for italics
    s for strike

    I’m still trying to do hyperlinks

    Neu Mejican,
    Carter’s broken campaign promise doesn’t count.

    and here:

    The Bush administration may have led us into Iraq senselessly, and Democrats are better on drug war, but God I still fucking hate liberals.

    I remain unconvinced.
    without the bold and italics I used above on chalupa quote

  211. SIV,

    I hope that wasn’t supposed to be an example of your comprehensible writing…

    Huh?

    So, I have a question.

    Why do Johnson’s empty statements during his lame duck term count more than Carter’s campaign promises that he didn’t keep?

    You saying they don’t doesn’t seem like much of a reason.

    They seem to say a lot about the political differences between the two parties.

  212. SIV:

    Thanks. It is encouraging to know that those who have been around longer on H&R than I’ve been still don’t know how to do hyperlinks. I am not all that far behind! Thanks again.

  213. Neu Mejican,

    the above was a cut and paste of my original comment that started all this.

    Johnson at least appears sincere whereas Carter demonstrated he wasn’t. I’ll grant you that they were both ineffectual on the issue. Look around and see if Carter had a “change of heart” back towards decrim when he was out of power.

    As for the liberal academics you say want Drug Policy Reform, I have profound disagreement with Harm Reduction as public policy (albeit it is better than what we have now).

  214. joe wrote a book?

    Good night ,

    SIV

  215. SIV,

    “As for the liberal academics you say want Drug Policy Reform, I have profound disagreement with Harm Reduction as public policy (albeit it is better than what we have now).”

    That wasn’t me.
    Really. I am not Mr. Nice Guy.

    joe’s book is an instruction manual on tags written FOR him since he can’t seem to get it right.

  216. joe wrote a book?

    It was all in italics.

  217. Nm, you mean I don’t have to type < strong >?

    I can just use < b >?

    Wow, I am thrilled.

    I always cheat when I post links. I have no idea how to do it. I use the automatic function on my blog post to do it for me and then cut and paste the html.

  218. Come visit The Wine Commonsewer Is done like this:

    type < a (don’t leave a space)

    followed by href=”http://www.winecommonsewer.com”>

    type the word you want to be highlighted in the link next, which is The Wine Commonsewer

    end it with < / a > (but don’t leave any spaces)

    That’s the rough format but in trying to make it show up in the comment I may have messed up something. Hope not.

  219. Grand Chalupa:

    The Islamic problem in Europe is real and serious. Above I linked to a poll that showed 40% of young Muslim Brits would rather live under Sharia law. And don’t tell me its a reaction to discrimination or any other nonsense, because often these are second generation kids who are more extreme than their parents (for comparison, 17% of those 55 and above want Sharia law).

    That poll is quite interesting indeed. But I find it far less worrisome than you do. The large portion of young Muslim’s professed adherence to fundamentalism is likely a part of their opposition to the British government’s decision to follow our government into Iraq. Much of the opposition to Western Mideast intervention is vocalized by fundamentalists so that intervention, now especially the Iraq war, has a tendency to push Muslims into that camp. The disparity between young and older seems to help make the case as younger folks are usually more rebellious. If Western military intervention ends and as time passes, fundamentalism will seem a lot less attractive to the young folks. For now, our government, and the British government have made it part of glamorous resistance.

    BTW, in France there certainly is government sponsored anti-Muslim discrimination that I mentioned up thread.

    This isn’t just talk either, there’s been a shocking number of honor killings.

    Be careful on this one. Honor killings are a cultural phenomena (note it is women who are killed when they commit family fidelity transgressions.) that is opposed by the so-called “Islamists”. Fox news screwed this up badly and blamed honor killings on fundamentalist Islam in one of their reprehensible “Two Minutes Hate” of Muslims bits. BTW, Honor killing also occur in lower class Indian society

  220. edna:

    rick, would you consider gaza and west bank to have been occupied pre-’67? pre-’49? pre-’48? pre-’18? under which rule was it not occupied and why?

    I consider them to be occupied after the 67 war cuz that when the big and disingenuous land grab of that terrain took place. Of course, now with the wall it’s even more an outright theft.

    please excuse me for being pesky; i’m just trying to understand your thinking, because we agree on much, yet come to very different conclusions.

    Not pesky at all! I’ve quite enjoyed our exchange-especially our putting a finer point on the definition of terrorism. (Now isn’t this far better than making snarky insinuations that I’m a racist every time I criticize the Israeli government, its supporters, and the US policy and funding vis a vis the israeli government? Those insinuations seem beneath you anyway.)

    Do you come to a different conclusion than me when I oppose our government’s funding the Israeli government’s occupation on libertarian, ethical, and practical grounds?

  221. Just testing to see if I understand this italicizing thing discussed above.

    and bolding

    and strikeouting

    Now, how do we make joe, etc. write like libertarians? Put “l”s in brackets, so it automatically converts statist remarks into sensible remarks?

  222. Grand Chalupa:

    Just thoughta something else (so I got outa bed, walked into my library and I’m typing again even though it’s after 2:30 AM!) As examples of the dynamic I’m talking about; many young folks (and to a lesser extent, others) who opposed the Viet Nam war temporarily identified themselves as political lefties cuz so much of te anti-war leadership was on the left. When I was in grade school in the 60’s, I started to accept a lot of liberal politicians’ big government nonsense cuz I agreed with them on civil rights for African Americans. I accepted their crap cuz I considered them correct on an issue that I felt strongly about.

    Ok, I gonna re-crash now. Here, you and edna, and anyone else who can dig it, please enjoy the Thompson Twins – “Doctor Doctor” !

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd-FyTQgfkk&mode=related&search=

  223. iih,

    Thanks for the interesting info. Here’s another Thompson Twins vid for you, and The Wine Commonsewer?, and anyone else to dig too!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4eS9voQ0CI&mode=related&search=

  224. Do you come to a different conclusion than me when I oppose our government’s funding the Israeli government’s occupation on libertarian, ethical, and practical grounds?

    yes, and for all the reasons left unanswered in my question about “occupation” and who, when, and why.

    for land grabbers, they’ve done a piss-poor job. they’ve returned most of it; the remaining border dispute that causes hyperventilation is a few square miles. for genocidists, they’ve done even worse- there’s about 4 times the original palestinian population in the west bank/gaza than there was in ’67.

    libertarian grounds? puh-leez. try opening a church or liquor store in gaza. try running for office in the palestinian government with an agenda of non-violent peacemaking with israel and true reform of the corruption and economic issues. try having a protest march in amman opposing the monarchy. try having a demonstration in damascus calling for the resignation of assad. i am not thrilled with many of the israeli government’s domestic policies, but on the libertarian scale, they rank about three orders of magnitude higher than the p.a., egypt, and jordan, and about infinitely higher than syria (home of the hama rules!).

    just curious, what’s your attitude about the ongoing occupation of about 8% of lebanese territory by syria?

  225. Mabrouk Iraq!

  226. “Votes that don’t matter and don’t count”
    The vote certainly “counted” as you’ve seen the tally. And it is brouht up yearly with similar breakdowns. Ironically it does not “matter” because your beloved GOP consistently votes as a block to kill medical marijuana. Sorry, you can’t hang that on the Dems…It’s stranger to talk about “Republican” Supreme COurt justices (I mean, Stevens and Souter along with Scalia and Thomas are GOPers). But your point on Raich is well taken. Of course this does not prove your party’s devotion to federalism. the same dissenters turned around and voted to kill assisted suicide when Oregon passed it, and to do so based solely on an administrative interpretation (rather than a vote of congress).

  227. “Funny how all of you have to resort to attacking me rather than my points (which you avoid).
    Are there any logical fallacies you haven’t resorted to?”
    You really take the cake Singularly Idiotic Voice. Your points? That four or five conserative columnists or ex-officials are against aspects of the WOD? Yes, we addressed that “point” several times. It’s lame. Of course its really you that cannot address anyoe’s points. Surely an honest thinker would have to address why, if the GOP is better on drugs as you claim, nearly all of them vote to kill medical marijuana every year. To say “that vote doesn’t matter” is silly. Matter or not, why does the GOP vote as a block against MM? That would seem a major stumbling bloc to your assertion that this party is “better” on drugs, you know, that 90%+ of them voted this way. Did they not understand the bill?
    Other than it being delightful fun to insult your lack of reasoning, I’m mostly motivated by the realization that you play dirty pool and are that most contemptible of blog creatures: the myopic partisan hack. I actually don’t think you could possibly be as stupid as you appear. Rather its obvious you really like the GOP and conservatism and feel it is your “duty” to get libertarians to keep buying into the myth that their is congruence between the two groups. This is why your “points” are the grasping of straws, any straw, while avoiding major obstacles to advancing your view.
    It may surprise you but I was a big fan of real deal conservatism for years. I read Burke, Kirk, Nisbet (my favorite) a great deal. And your ramblings on “conservatism” show more of a familiarity with Hannity than Edmund Burke.
    I tired of the authoritarian themes underlying conservative thought (especially the dogmatic allegiance to orthodox religion). I actually think liberals are more conducive to libertarian thought and goals (I mean they share the goal of increased freedom and liberty [its in the root of both terms]), they just are more willing to make an alliance with government to counter what they see as freedom-repressing activity of private institutions like community, family, and of course business. But notice that I don’t blindly shill for Dems or liberals. I note in the thread above that liberals and Dems have much complicity in the drug war. I noted as well that if your drug of choice is nicotine then the Dems and liberals are far more repressive. But then again I’m trying to honestly argue a point, not “save my Party.” That’s contemptible.

  228. With regards to the Israeli-Palestine Eternal War, why don’t we take this advice?

    Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.–George Washington

    I.e., don’t hate a foreign nation too much, and don’t love a foreign nation too much. If the United States takes sides a distant conflict that does not involve it merely because some faction as a sentimental attachment to that country, it will bring nothing but harm on the United States.

  229. do you believe that sentiment is all there is to it?

  230. “for land grabbers, they’ve done a piss-poor job. they’ve returned most of it; the remaining border dispute that causes hyperventilation is a few square miles. for genocidists, they’ve done even worse- there’s about 4 times the original palestinian population in the west bank/gaza than there was in ’67.”
    Is this supposed to be some kind of defense of Israel’s occupation? Sure, they are occupying land gained from a war (considered illegal by international law standards, and for good reason), land that had people living on it who have never consented to living under the Israeli government, but hey, they gave some of it back. And yes, under this occupation the population is deprived of autonomy and kept in squalid conditions, but the population has increased so what’s the problem? The occupation is simply indefensible. Not that it is not understandable, Israeli’s are rightly spooked by the many instances of Arab aggression, but people do all kinds of things when they are spooked that is morally indefensible.

  231. Edna-

    Do you honestly believe that Israel is somehow morally entitled to U.S. military and economic aid?

  232. no. where did i say that?

  233. Ok, did you at least imply that giving military and economic aid to Israel (or simply taking sides in the conflict) is in the national interest?

  234. yes, that i’ll cop to. morality has nothing to do with it.

  235. Please explain exactly why its in our national interest, then. If it has nothing to do with morality, then don’t start with the “only democracy there” stuff.

    What do we get in return for the massive amounts of aid?

  236. Now if we mis-identify the true threat, we will be fighting the wrong war altogether. The threat as I see it is radicalism. The question is: How do we handle this threat in Western societies without violating the basic tenets of freedom and liberty? If instead we diagnose the threat as just the “Muslim threat”, we will be fighting the wrong fight that may have consequences worse than the situation we are in. This is exactly GWB’s mistake in fighting terrorism in Iraq instead of Afghanistan or Northwestern Pakistan. There was a mis-diagnosis of the threat that fired back by committing all the troops to the wrong (and now newly-found) threat and leaving the real threat to grow and flourish.

    The extremists aren’t just in Pakistan, they’re in London, Paris and all over Europe. I don’t like it when people say something or other isn’t “true” Islam. To an atheist like myself there is no such thing as a “true” version of a religion, there is only the way people practice it. And whether the Koran itself is to blame or not a signifigant portion of Muslim immigrants to Western countries refuse to accept the ideas that lead to a free society.

    The solution? Limit immigration from Muslim countries, especially imams who are too extreme for Egypt and Morocco! I don’t think anybody is proposing anything more draconian than that.

    I think European problems are deeper than just one immigrant group. Their unwillingness to breed and love of the welfare state with a shrinking population is causing them to sleepwalk off a cliff. I see Europe dying of feminism, multiculuturalism and social democracy. Islam will simply fill the void.

    That poll is quite interesting indeed. But I find it far less worrisome than you do. The large portion of young Muslim’s professed adherence to fundamentalism is likely a part of their opposition to the British government’s decision to follow our government into Iraq. Much of the opposition to Western Mideast intervention is vocalized by fundamentalists so that intervention, now especially the Iraq war, has a tendency to push Muslims into that camp.

    This is a mistake often made by liberals. We do X, it pisses off Y people, stop doing X and everything will be solved. If a terrorist attack happens tommorrow somebody will blame it on the Iraq war. What was the excuse for 9/11? Something else, just like it always is.

    Its not lack of WMDs in Iraq that convinces a large portion of European Muslims that anybody who leaves their religion should be put to death, or that 9/11 was carried out by Mossad. Islamic hatred towards the west is shaped more by third world pathologies than any real grievances.

  237. What do we get in return for the massive amounts of aid?

    in no particular order and not at all comprehensive:

    security of vital strategic assets and passages (the “o” word), intelligence well beyond our capability, basing and overflight rights at a critical spot with no strings, a way to do things like osirik with plausible deniability, hi tech defense research at a fraction of the cost and a multiple of the speed of domestic corporations…

    now, i’ll turn the question around: we give about the same amount to egypt. what do we get for that? i’m generally curious about why egypt never seems to get mentioned in these discussions.

    and why the fuck do we need to give saudi arabia defense grants (announced today- these aren’t just sales, they include actual grants and subsidies)? the money ought to be involuntarily extracted from our citizens to help fund the lifestyles of the billionaire sheikhs for no discernable return? really? really?????

  238. security of vital strategic assets and passages (the “o” word)

    Uh, how much oil does Israel have again?

    basing and overflight rights at a critical spot with no strings

    If we butted out of the Middle East militarily, we wouldn’t need those overflight spots.

    a way to do things like osirik with plausible deniability

    I’m pretty sure Israel would do that with or without the United States, since an Iraq nuclear program was a much bigger threat to them than it is to us.

    hi tech defense research at a fraction of the cost and a multiple of the speed of domestic corporations

    Screw the military-industrial complex.


    now, i’ll turn the question around: we give about the same amount to egypt. what do we get for that? i’m generally curious about why egypt never seems to get mentioned in these discussions.

    We don’t get squat, and it should be cut off.

    and why the fuck do we need to give saudi arabia defense grants (announced today- these aren’t just sales, they include actual grants and subsidies)? the money ought to be involuntarily extracted from our citizens to help fund the lifestyles of the billionaire sheikhs for no discernable return? really? really?????

    It should be cut off tomorrow.

    But being so close to Israel has had really, really, really bad consequences for the United States with little benefit.

  239. Chalupa:

    I am surprised to see that the discussion is still going on.

    In any case, okay… I give up on you. You are so determined to take action to stop the “Muslim hatred” towards the West. Please go ahead… be my guest. Good luck with that. Just do not hurt me. I am really one of the good ones 🙂

    Oh, by the way, if you want to take action getting rid of the global Muslim threat (last time I heard of such rhetoric, by the way, was by the Nazis and Ahmadinajad against the Jews — time to have one against the Muslims too), try not to break any laws. I know it is hard, just do your best.

    Are you really Libertarian?

  240. Cesar and edna:

    now, i’ll turn the question around: we give about the same amount to egypt. what do we get for that? i’m generally curious about why egypt never seems to get mentioned in these discussions.

    We don’t get squat, and it should be cut off.

    I (the “Egyptian on the discussion board”) am for cutting off aid to Egypt. It hurts (as I mentioned in precious discussions on H&R) more than does any benefit to the Egyptian people and the American tax-payer. I can not speak for Israel, but I would prefer that all US aid be cut-off from all countries in the region. Then both sides of the conflict will realize how week each is without US aid and how each needs the other. Each side will then start conceding and compromising, and after an evolutionary process, a final solution accepted by all sides will emerge. Just let the market take care of it.

  241. Uh, how much oil does Israel have again?

    zip. please reread the whole sentence. oil must be moved out of where it is found and to the rest of the world. that necessitates free passage through some potentially fairly nasty areas; remember the closings of suez and aqaba?

    that also means, sadly, that nutjobs are flush with cash and have to be always aware that they have to keep their nutjobbery to themselves.

    iih is right in theory, but not in reality. with a 100:1 population advantage, a 1000:1 territory advantage, absent some defensive help, “greater arabia” could wipe our strategic asset off the map in pretty short order.

    there is, of course, the edna plan, which i think would get us off the hook while preventing a bloodbath and preserving our assets.


  242. zip. please reread the whole sentence. oil must be moved out of where it is found and to the rest of the world. that necessitates free passage through some potentially fairly nasty areas; remember the closings of suez and aqaba?

    Egypt, not Israel, controls the suez. And how many pipelines go through Israel?

    iih is right in theory, but not in reality. with a 100:1 population advantage, a 1000:1 territory advantage, absent some defensive help, “greater arabia” could wipe our strategic asset off the map in pretty short order.

    Oh please! Israel has a military that could defeat any combination of nations in the region, which is exactly why they don’t need American tax dollars.

    Spare me the “poor little defenssless Israel” bull, this is 2007 not 1948.

  243. edna:


    iih is right in theory, but not in reality. with a 100:1 population advantage, a 1000:1 territory advantage, absent some defensive help, “greater arabia” could wipe our strategic asset off the map in pretty short order.

    Historically, where Jews wiped out of both the holy lands or Arab or Muslim controlled lands? Why would they now? Do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that Jews (and Christians for that matter, but more for Jews) did not have tough and rough times — some of the times— under Arab/Muslim rule. Last time I checked, Spanish Jews did not escape along with the Muslims from the Iberian peninsula as the lesser of two evil options. They went to Morocco and still pretty much exist (far less since the creation of Israel).

    So my point is, I argue, have always argued, that the conflict did not originate on religious bases. It was fundamentally a political one. Palestine, historically viewed as Muslim land, has all of a sudden “seceded” from the “union” under, not only a new flag, but under a religious banner that alarmed (1) the secularists (alarmed that similar Islamic-based movements would come and overthrow existing governments in power), and (2) the religious fundamentalists, who saw in Israel a threat to the Islamic dominance over Palestine in the preceding 1400 years or so.

    (Note: In the US, a secession of any state is practically considered an act of war.)

    Now, what started as a a political crisis, with time it evolved into a semi-religious conflict (especially right wing nationalists in Israel –the Jewish state, right?– and Islamists in Palestine — especially Hamas). What started as a political crisis, morphed into religious hatred on both sides and, I admit, more so on the Arab side.

    With that said. If a compromise (by both sides) is reached to arrive at a just solution to the conflict, it is only natural that Arabs will have no reason to be involved in a conflict they do not want (they have not sought it in the 1400 years preceding 1948 as I said above).

    Why should you believe me? The Arabs (for a couple of years now) are ready to make a peace deal in which they fully recognize Israel’s right to existence and develop economic and diplomatic relations with her.

    Now, probably the unrealistic part of my theory is that the grievances have grown so much so that after a compromise is reached, the Arabs have developed enough hatred for the Jews (collectively) that they would attempt to exterminate them.

    I do not know about that grim possibility. I do not think it will happen. Why? At the hight of tensions, at the hight of injustice (as seen by Arabs) towards Palestinians, at the hight of both peace and war over the last 59 years such a grim scenario did not happen. Why should we expect it to happen if a just compromise is reached? Is it feasible to happen? Especially that Israel is right now, and in the future, is nuclearly armed to the teeth? So Israel’s security immediately after such a compromise is reached is safeguarded by its existing defense capabilities. Israel will have that edge for quite some time. If Arabs were really for war and started arming themselves, then the world –especially Israel– will undoubtedly notice and will start to prepare a response. There is a strong Libertarian argument for a US military support of Israel if this happens.

    So without some trust that Arabs are really not into exterminating anyone, such a proposition is not a bad one. Without that trust and willingness to compromise, the status quo will continue for a very long time. If the ratio is 100:1 today, eventually it will be more than that and the situation will be worse for Israel, unless Israel itself is preparing something to permanently “terminate” the Arab “threat”. Isn’t that a good enough reason for me, and Arabs in general, to fear Israel’s intentions? See it works both ways.

    Sorry for the long response.

  244. Egypt, not Israel, controls the suez.

    precisely. and if they block it again as they’ve done before, it is up to israel to take care of that situation. same with aqaba.

    iih, it’s worth considering the views of the israelis who are refugees (or their descendents) of people who fled or were expelled from various muslim counties, a large proportion of the jewish population in israel and nearly the entire pre-1949 jewish population of those lands. they are not so sanguine about the good intentions of their former oppressors and note that their former homelands are effectively judenrein.

    i still think my plan is the best one for all, but for some reason, the state department seems to have lost my phone number.

  245. idna:

    iih, it’s worth considering the views of the israelis who are refugees (or their descendents) of people who fled or were expelled from various muslim counties, a large proportion of the jewish population in israel and nearly the entire pre-1949 jewish population of those lands. they are not so sanguine about the good intentions of their former oppressors and note that their former homelands are effectively judenrein.

    I really do not mean disrespect, but I think this is a very convenient thing for you to say. Most Jews left their older countries out of choice for their newly found homeland (Israel). For example, in Egypt, while they could not directly leave for Israel, any Egyptian had to have paperwork done to leave the country. Jews usually left for Cyprus or nearby European nations. Everyone knew where they most likely will leave for (i.e., Israel), while many left for places like Argentina, Brazil or, of course, the US. Some exist today in Alexandria and Cairo, with active synagogues, especially the one in Alexandria).

    There is absolutely no proof that any Jew was executed in Egypt or any other Arab country. They were simply allowed to leave. They were afraid, and for good reasons. In fact, if I, as an Egyptian happened to be in Tel Aviv during these times, I would have probably not felt comfortable being there — and, please, do not give me the “Israel is a democratic state” argument and that “I would have been better off there as an Arab than in my native country” thing.

    Regarding:

    Egypt, not Israel, controls the suez.

    precisely. and if they block it again as they’ve done before, it is up to israel to take care of that situation. same with aqaba.

    Are you Libertarian? If Suez is Egypt’s property, what right does Israel have to “take care of that situation”? Israel tried before, did it succeed?

  246. I am very disappointed that a thread with the word “enhanced” in the title and “jiggle” in the 5th comment ended up the way it did.

  247. Stevo:

    In what sense?

  248. Steve:

    See… it almost always boils down to the Middle East 🙂 Though I think there were several trains of thought and this seems to be the one that outlasted all others!

  249. precisely. and if they block it again as they’ve done before, it is up to israel to take care of that situation. same with aqaba.

    The last time they blocked it was because of Israel. Talk about putting the cart before the horse. They would have no problem opening it to us if Israel wasn’t (for lack of a better term) our bitch in the Middle East.

  250. Cesar:

    I would also remind edna that each day Egypt makes at least $7.9 Million (based on 2004 data) a day from Suez canal income. They really do hate money, those Egyptians, don’t they?

  251. Most Jews left their older countries out of choice for their newly found homeland (Israel).

    good luck with that thought! my family certainly did not leave voluntarily; well, yes, voluntarily in the sense that they didn’t want to stay and be killed, but not voluntarily in the sense that they thought, “hey, i know! let’s go to israel!” isn’t it a little odd that every jew in muslim countries “wanted” to leave? there’s certainly no significant jewish present left in syria, iraq, morocco, yemen (mickey marcus!!!), algeria, iran, or any of the other muslim countries that once had vibrant jewish societies. no, i’m sorry, i can’t buy into that narrative.

    cesar, can you define “pretext”?

  252. If I were a Jew I’d choose America before Israel. Cause, you know, its not in a global neighborhood where everyone hates my guts.

    I’m not a shill for Mexico–the country of my mother (or Scotland where my fathers relatives are from), why should you be a shill for Israel?

  253. as much as i hate quoting a comedian, larry miller got it right. imagine, he says, that you have a football field. in the middle of the football field there’s a matchbook. everyone on the field is angry because of that two square inches, but they generously allow that if you give them half that miniscule patch, everything will be ok. as long, of course, as they can also have free run of that last half of a matchpack.

    the reality is that egypt isn’t fucked up because of israel. hama was not destroyed because of israel. saudi arabia is not a dictatorship because of israel. and on and on. get over that humiliation thing. the problems of the middle east will not go away because we take away that matchbook.

  254. edna:

    for land grabbers, they’ve done a piss-poor job. they’ve returned most of it; the remaining border dispute that causes hyperventilation is a few square miles.

    What?? The West Bank is occupied and the population is subjected to a foreign government’s tyranny. After standing against the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe, we should demand that our government quit paying for the Israeli occupation. As a practical matter, it brings all manner of problems upon us, such as 9/11. The main thing that’s wrong with our Mideast foreign policy is that it’s to Israeli government centric. Giving money for the occupation is one of the most shameful things that our government has done with our money, and it’s ongoing!

    there’s about 4 times the original palestinian population in the west bank/gaza than there was in ’67.

    So that just means that there are 4 times the number of folks living under the yoke of foreign oppression. The increase in population is probably in large part due to the poverty created by the Israeli governments suppression of free-enterprise in the occupied lands. (See: “How Israel Lost: The Four Questions” by Richard Ben Cramer http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0743250281/associatizer-20/

    World wide, poor folks have more kids. I’ll betcha that the birth rate in Lebanon, for example, is less than it is in the West Bank and Gaza.

    libertarian grounds? puh-leez. try opening a church or liquor store in gaza….

    The libertarian grounds that I had in mind involves our government’s transgression against the American people, forcing them to pay money to finance the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestine. If forcing folks to pay their money for welfare payments for individuals, and subsidies for corporations in contra libertarianism, then surely so is forcing them to pay their money to finance another government’s prosecution of an occupation.

    just curious, what’s your attitude about the ongoing occupation of about 8% of lebanese territory by syria?

    I oppose it and I’m glad we’re not paying for it.

  255. Edna, I don’t care about Israel, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia. Frankly, I think all the countries of the middle east act like irrational little babies. And I’m sick of the USA being the baby sitter of the region. If you want to kill yourself some Arabs, go ahead, but not on my dime.

  256. edna:

    I do not buy into your narrative either (so does this conclude the discussion)? Why haven’t you addressed any of the other reasons that point to the fact that Israel will not be exterminated if they are willing to compromise a little on something that is clearly the right of others? It is simply because you, like many of your right wing friends in Israel (I have many many moderate Israeli/Jewish friends of mine by the way who are not for the dismantling of israel — I am not by the way), would just do anything but give up one inch in your desire to retain dominance over that piece of real estate!

    If Arabs really hate Jews that much, the real question is, did Jews have to leave in droves in the many years before 1948? Or more accurately, did they have to leave before the Balfour Declaration? Leaving for Israel was partly the natural thing to do. Blaming their leaving on antisemitism is a poor argument, but is not necessarily devoid of reason (and I admitted above that it was not all honey and butter for Arab Jews).

    Just out of curiosity, where did your family leave from?

  257. edna:

    Did anyone claim that Israel is the reason for the poor conditions in Arab countries — and they are poor conditions!

  258. I am tired… I will check this thread tomorrow morning.

    edna, despite the disagreements, it was really good chatting with you, as well as Cesar, and now Rick.

    If I leave you with one message it is this. Okay, you may have reasons to fear for Israel’s and the Jews’ future in the Middle East (I think that these fears are mostly overblown, while some are legitimate), but, frankly, your arguments are not all that Libertarian.

    See you later.

  259. edna:

    …intelligence well beyond our capability,

    What? The Ireali government spys on us! Another trial coming up:

    http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=10764

    we give about the same amount to egypt

    No. I’m sure that with all counted, the Israeli government gets far more. A big increase just got approved-just the opposite of what we should be doing:

    http://www.forbes.com/business/feeds/afx/2007/07/29/afx3963706.html

    Now why do they hate us?

    The aid to Egypt is wrong as well.

  260. (half asleep)…

    The aid to Egypt should stop. It hurts the local economy and ends up subsidizing non-Egyptian made products at the cost of the Egyptian product. The aid is simply stupid with counterproductive and a ton of negative side effects.

  261. (3/4 asleep)…

    The US is right now arming the Middle East to its teeth. Defense companies and contractors, and other US warlords are doing a great job to divert tax-payer money to get themselves rich.

  262. The evidence is that the occupation was intended as land theft, going back for at least 35 years.
    Note that when Winston S. Churchill III in 1973 asked Ariel Sharon: “What is to become of the Palestinians’ land” Sharon answered: “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in twenty-five years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.”

    The Israeli government has never bargained in good faith.

    Each of us should contact our representative and senators and tell them to to quit funding the Israeli occupation of Palestine:

    http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

  263. Grand Chalupa:

    What was the excuse for 9/11? Something else, just like it always is….Islamic hatred towards the west is shaped more by third world pathologies than any real grievances.

    That’s not where the evidence points. In his 9/11 Fatwa, Bin Laden told us the three reasons for the 9/11 attack:

    1.Us trrops deployed too close to Mecca

    2. The suffering of the Iraqi people caused by the the blockade if Iraq.

    3. American government support for the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestinian land.

    http://www.ict.org.il/articles/fatwah.htm

    Also, the chief exporter of pornography into the Arab world is Sweden. The Islamic clerics complain bitterly, but of course there were no 9/11 or even London type attacks on Stockholm. It takes the teeth of government intervention (In the Mideast, death and destruction) to motivate attempts at mass murder.

  264. …I wanted to say: “It takes the teeth of government intervention (In the Mideast, death, destruction, *and land theft*) to motivate attempts at mass murder”.

  265. Rick Barton,

    Well, the sanctions against Iraq have stopped. Are the jihadis happy? I’ve met Arabs mad about the Iraq war, mad that we help middle eastern dictators, mad if we push for democracy and mad if we implement sanctions. If you look closely, those are just about all possible foreign policy options.

    What do you find more often, homeless people who take responsibility for themselves or those that blame others? Its natural for human beings to hate others when they fail, and I personally find it to be the ugliest part of humanity. That’s the Arab situation.

    They don’t attack Sweeden because its not the head of the worldwide infidel movement. Dinesh D’Souza makes the point in “The Enemy at Home” that even if Europe is more decadent then America, America is seen as the main exporter of western culture.

    And who did Theo Van Gough bomb? How about the Dutch cartoonists? How can you see politicians in the Netherlands fearing for their lives under police protection and European and American media refusing to show pictures of Mohammed out of fear and just shrug?

  266. Grand Chalupa:

    Well, the sanctions against Iraq have stopped

    Now they’re probably whining about the over a hundred thousand dead Iraqis, and the two million refugees-those ingrates. And when in the Hell are they gonna quit holding it against us just cuz our government keeps paying for the occupation of Palestine.

    If you look closely, those are just about all possible foreign policy options.

    You didn’t mention non-intervention, which they have every right to desire.

    Its natural for human beings to hate others when they fail…

    And I think that that dynamic probably goes on among some Arabs vis a vis the West. But that doesn’t negate their legitimate grievances.

    Dinesh D’Souza makes the point in “The Enemy at Home” that even if Europe is more decadent then America…

    I like most of D’Souza’s stuff a lot, but not some of that one.

    …America is seen as the main exporter of western culture.

    And Sweden is the exporter of a terribly objectionable part of Western culture for them. You’re a smart guy, Grand Chalupa. Don’t blind yourself. America is the main exporter of coercive intervention-that’s why they hate us. Cuz of what our government does. We can win their hearts and minds with many aspects of American culture (such as free-enterprise)-that’s not the problem. Where else in the west have attacks of mass destruction been attempted? Against Britain. Why? Cuz they’re the other Western power involved in active military intervention in the Mideast. They foolishly followed our government into Iraq. This all seems so clear to me.

  267. In response to the article, I can’t stand Barry Bonds. He’s and others like him have greatly degraded the sport. It’s very unfortunate.

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